q: community

“A strong theme in the theological writings of on faith of H. Richard Niebuhr and Paul Tillich has to do with faith as a way of seeing the world. Faith for them is a kind of knowing, a constructing the world in light of certain disclosures of the character of reality as a whole that are taken as decisive. Different faiths are alternate modes of being in the world that arise out of contrasting ways of composing the ultimate conditions of existence. Ways of being and ways of seeing are reciprocal. As Niebuhr puts it in The Responsible Self, we shape our actions and responses in life in accordance with our interpretation of the larger patterns of actions that impinge on us. Communities of faith are communities of shared interpretations.”

James Fowler, Stages of Faith, pg. 98

Something that I thought about while on my choir tour was community. I was involved with a variety of religious groups in high school and early in college and I found the first real peer acceptance of my life there. Something I was noticing with Salt and Light was the high level of affection and emotional availability. People were present and caring in a way that I haven’t experienced in this community for a while.

I was thinking about mentor as I was reading this section. We are a community acting on a shared interpretation of reality. What is common to us though? Not any religious tradition to be sure. There was a little fuss a while ago as we talked about reviving the life in mentor. Things changed for a while, and there is more writing in general, but it still feels to me like something is missing.

What do other people think? Am I inappropriately placing certain intimacy needs in this place? Should I just work on making more friends? I don’t think that is it. Intellectual work is important, but people being comfortable with emotional intimacy is important as well.

People were friendly though at the Christmas party though… Hmm…

This is just something I am not quite sure on. I was thinking maybe of suggesting something like the thing the big sibs did on the ropes course at the 4H place. That was fun and gave the group a chance to get together. There are some people here I have never seen in person. I am not all that bothered by it, but I can see where it might make some people uncomfortable sharing themselves.

Also, the question about what we are doing here matters I think. The intimacy in Salt and Light happened pretty quick, and it was I think because of our identification with a shared belief system. Everyone had a sense of security to work from because they knew that the other people around them were a part of the community of Christians. I don’t feel that sense of identity is particularly strong around here and I do not think that it is just because we are “breaking boxes”.

I’ll write later about what I am doing here. =)

I am much more comfortable being honest in this place and I am thankful for that.

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