Monday, October 6, 2008

Community First

It is good to be back in the saddle. I took a few days to visit one of the most beautiful places in all of creation, the Adirondack Park here in New York. It was a time of refreshing for my mind, soul and spirit. Now I am back to the ministry God has given to me here in this place.

This morning I re-engaged the book Amish Grace. The main point of the book is investigating forgiveness. In the midst of that discussion I am overwhelmed by the Amish understanding of community. Their dedication to place the community first over the individual flies in the face of all that is held dear by American society. As I read the pages, I am in a constant battle of admiring the Amish and dismissing them as being clueless to the way the world really works. At the heart of that is individualism.

So ingrained in our culture is the idea that the individual overrides the needs of the community. There is much discussion about personal rights, and the rights of the individual. It seems to me that the rights of the individual only carry any importance if placed in the context of a community. Therefore without a community the individual is truly lost.

I wonder what would happen in our culture if people, small pockets at first, began to live primarily as a community, and as an individual last?

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