Friday, 31 August 2012

aggressively intentional community

Aggressively. An imperfect word connoting a violent power-over, I choose it so not to use the hackneyed 'radical' which has pretensions of virtue. Aggressive because we face a force which pushes against, the overwhelming and subliminal force of individualism which sets a minimum standard of "need" and of "normal". There is advisable isolation confected as a defence against cults, communists, paedophiles, immigrants, the dependent old, the young and the needy. It is advised that the rugged Romantic heroic Christian newly wed couple will first define themselves in a vacuum, a glorious tabula rasa, demonstrating their genius in laboratory conditions, which, it is hoped, will prepare them for the good life and the uphill struggle of raising and redeeming an overcrowded urban generation by employing suburban spatial expectations.  (Perhaps better 'Fiercely' or 'Determinedly'?)

Intentional. That is, living life on purpose. Again a problematic word, or at least redundant, as what ambition is unintentional? It is needed mostly as a qualifier to distinguish 'community' from the accidental and entirely unconnected groups of people who sail under the banner of the 'international community', the 'business community' etc. Intentional gives emphasis to a united and articulated direction, objective, cause and leadership of said collection of people. Which demands then to ask, what is my intention, what do we intend beyond gathering for gathering's sake in a cosy huddle? Perhaps we hope towards church, by another name, with an emphasis on cohabitation as a means to personal sanctification and effective witness and radical hospitality.

Community. I spilt some words here, but have since wandered through other experiences of Life Together. We desire to be hazardously enmeshed, without naive disregard for appropriate boundaries. Which is the fear manifest in so many polemic representations of 'community' gone wildly awry as Together for example. I think my present household demonstrates to me, the possibility of such an urban household (where L'Abri is a therapeutic model that I cannot conceive other than as rural retreat), but not only the possibility, but the unique and urgent contribution that only such a household can make to redeeming the manner of dwelling for so many in so much of London's housing. Space, we are learning, is a luxury, that is, an over-rated indulgence. Boundaries are sufficient, leadership is necessary and sharing is the future.

1 comment:

michellejulianne said...

Hear hear. Can churches also follow this model, do you think?