Sunday, January 11, 2009

Community Commitment

Since it is January, we are due to renew our annual commitment to the community. But we are presently rethinking and rewording who it is that we are (see "Revise Our Rule, etc?"). I don't think we really can sign on to the community when we don't yet know what the community will be. I think it would strengthen our community and the process of reworking our community document, though, if at this time we could make not one-year commitments but, say, two-month commitments to the process of rethinking our "rule."

The commitment would be to participate in the discussion about the rule in good faith--to continue (or join) as a member for that time. Once we have decided what the community document will say, perhaps in March, we can then sign on or not ("open hand" policy) for a year.

I've posted a page on our community wiki for these short-term commitments to the process of discussing the community. Please go there, read the "pledge" statement (comment if you think it needs to be revised), and, if you would like, add your name to the list.

Paul Corrigan


RC said...

Paul, this is a reasonable and caring request, though somewhat challenging. It was obviously made by one who cares and is willing to invest. I hope everyone will free not to respond/engage this; I also hope a number of us will. My concept of livingstones continues to be that it is a tentative, fragile experiment. Our website "join us" page says, "we do find value in 'belonging to one another' in a somewhat formal way." Since it's an experiment, I don't know how our community should look, but no matter how "little" a way it might be, my prayer is that it has some substance and genuineness as a community. I think our "postmodern" consumer culture pervades our Christian circles, so we experience the hyper-individualism, disconnect, fragmentation, superficiality, vagueness, resultant isolation, etc., even as we love the Lord and seek to be faithful to New Testament spirituality. Thank you for your willingness to invest with genuiness and substance.

Paul Corrigan said...

Dr. Cotton, I think that you might be right that this request is "somewhat challenging." Although, I guess I just intended it as something between an extension of the commitments we have already made and a way of postponing commitments for another whole year. Perhaps we can tone down the language of the short-term commitment if it is too much (though I don't really see that it is any more than we have already committed to for the past year).

If anyone would like to commit to something less than what is described in the short-term commitment statement that I drafted, they are more than welcome to comment on that and we can adjust the wording.


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting conundrum. I think an equally honest question about community is what do we divest ourselves of so that we might have an intentional sameness, or commonness? Likewise, is it worth considering different levels of commitment--an Associate/Oblate order of commitment which is secondary or tertiary to those who are fully committed?
I have to say that I am actually very encouraged by this juncture of consideration. I think you all should be congratulated on really living into the "fragile experiment" of intentional community building. The reality is that in intentional community, it is not ideology which threatens to tear at the group--it is the common stuff. There is probably more entropic energy in a heated discussion about the value of grits in one's diet than there is about the nature of the Holy Trinity.
So, for what it is worth, I am very happy for this group and see true potential. Remember, even though it seems difficult, that you wouldn't feel growing pains if you were not growing.
May God, through the faithful petitions of St. Benedict, lead you all to true community; and by the urgings of the Holy Spirit, make perfect your true communion with our Lord Jesus Christ. This we ask through him who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.

RC said...

Matt, thank you for your comment yesterday (above). It is insightful and caring. To me too it seems that something valuable and alive is in the midst of our community interaction and uncertainty. Thank you for these words you wrote: "I am very happy for this group and see true potential. Remember, even though it seems difficult, that you wouldn't feel growing pains if you were not growing." Amen.

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