Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cummunitas vs. Community

There is a lot of talk about community today. The concept is simple: have activities to bring people together for a common cause. This takes on many forms in our culture today. One, the movement for community centers around festivals, 5K runs, BBQs and fairs. Two, it usually involves people of the same local church, neighborhood and/or work place. This concept of community has its place, but I would like to make an argument for communitas.

According to Wikipedia,
"Communitas is an intense community spirit, the feeling of great social equality, solidarity, and togetherness. Communitas is characteristic of people experiencing liminality together. This term is used to distinguish the modality of social relationship from an area of common living."

So communitas is centered around an experience where togetherness is not a conscious effort but born out of sheer necessity. The Liminal experience forces people out of their comfort zones, exposes the true nature of individuals and forces interdependence. This type of an environment is not common in our culture, especially when we think about community. Community in our minds is safe, secure, and predictable. Basically, community is the antithesis of communitas. Communitas builds a stronger, healthier and deeper community of people. It is a group that sweats, cries and bleeds for a cause together.

Types of liminal experiences:

War
Pilgrimage
Rescue missions
Mountain treks
The Great depression
9/11

For Raytown, community is already happening. People are grouping together for common interest. I think this is great. I enjoy a few of the community events myself. I have nothing against them. I would like to be a part of a Raytonian Liminal Experience that builds communitias with its members.

It's not just someone organizing a community effort where everyone shows up with trashbages and hedge trimmers it's a group of people ready to War for Raytown. That is what will set us apart. A community is only as strong as its citizens believe in it. The war of metropolitians for citizenship and revenue focuses on consumerism and services. But what if we were different? What if we OWNED our town?! What if we protected our homes and neighbors? What if we got involved in the political process? What if we bought up our downtown and revitalized it? What if we came together and beautified our town, created an environment safe for kids to grow up in, and modeled for the rest of KC what can happen when citizens fall in love with their community? Despite differences among ourselves we see the greater mission of a village. A barbaric loyalty to one another. Not swayed by a need compete with another town, just passionately living out our own unique talents and gifts as a community.

If we can do that, I believe we may see significant change.

1 comment:

crunchee said...

I think that community, along with other words like love and christian, has lost a lot of its meaning. A community doesn't exist to build monuments to itself; it exists for the members. We've seemed to have lost a sense of true fellowship.

Well-written.