One of the things we at Grace talk about frequently and value highly is community. We even have these things called community groups that we encourage our members to join. We want to be involved in each others’ lives and in the life of this place where God has called us to live. Now, if you’re reading this, you’re obviously online. Here’s the question – does the wired world we live in foster community. Or does it create the illusion of community? As Wendell Berry points out below – “Community is not made just by communication.” What are some tangible ways you can move toward community that is more than just communication- toward knowing, loving, and serving your neighbor? Think about it.
Thoughts from Wendell Berry:
I don’t, on purpose, see much television, and my acquaintance with social media is at secondhand. What I know is that when neighbors replace local stories with stories from television, and when they sit in the house and watch television instead of talking on front porches, a profound disintegration has taken place. And I know it is impossible to talk to somebody who is “telecommunicating” with somebody who is absent.
The usefulness of electronic communication to cultivate community, I think, is tightly limited. It may be useful in emergencies, useful to people who are sick and shut in, etc. But community is not made just by communication. It is a practical circumstance. It is composed of people who have a place in common. But it is made by people’s willingness to be neighbors, good and faithful servants, to one another. It survives by its members’ recognition of their need for one another, if only to keep the small children from getting lost or run over, or to keep their trash out of the streams and roads. My guess is that a healthy community would be indivisible from its own, its local, economy.