communitas

25 05 2008

the following is an article that i wrote a month or so ago and have reproduced here.  enjoy.

Communitas –

defined as: an intense community spirit, the feeling of great solidarity and togetherness. usually exists in the form of common living.

community is a buzz word these days, used in churches, neighbourhoods, alcoholics anonymous, weight watchers, etc. it seems that everyone wants a piece of belonging, of being greater than just themselves. it can be used to expose or hide our pain, give or take love, and to unite a group of similar people. do we really understand community though?

that’s where communitas comes into the picture. it’s the picture of togetherness, of a common spirit or goal, a group of people who are striving to meet one end as a group. it’s a group like this that is what i think true community was intended to be. when did community really start? as soon as God created adam, there was community in-between man and God. with the creation of eve, man and woman had intimate community. soon enough there would be community between multiple men of the earth. community is a part of who we were made to be; it’s been there from the start. so why do we seem to suck at living authentic community, or communitas?

community is so much more than meeting together once a week, seeing each other in passing, or watching a movie together. communitas embodies the type of community which is people sharing their lives together. it’s eating together, it’s laughing together, it’s crying together, it’s about being there. true community is about being intricately woven into a part of other people’s lives. it’s about knowing when your brother or sister is struggling and being able to just be with them. it’s not about having the right words or encouragement all the time, but it is about just being there. it’s about being vulnerable to the point of being brutally honest about you entire life with those involved in your community. when we’ve got secrets that are burning inside us and we can’t bring them up in our community, what is our community really worth?

ask yourself this question: am i tangible part of communitas right now? chances are that we might have a sliver of it, but we haven’t even come close to understanding what it’s about. it’s a long process, not one that can happen in a day or even a week, but we work at it.

in the past few days i’ve cried, literally wept at the feet of my brother, i’ve laughed until my side hurt, i’ve enjoyed pancakes, kraft dinner, and a hockey game with my brothers. tonight i’m going to go out and enjoy dinner with two of my brothers whom i’ve been able to get a slice of communitas with. i don’t know where we’re going, or when we’ll be back. but that truly doesn’t matter because i know i’m going to be with my brothers, and that’ll be enough for me. we’ve told great stories, are sure tell more as the day continues, and will continue to create great memories as we just work at being. i’ve experienced true vulnerability, true joy, and contentment in community. community has burned me this year, brutally backstabbed and let me down time and time again, but the bottom line is that my brotherhood of community has allowed me to experience so much more than it could have been. it’s not that i’ve reached the pinnacle of community, but the journey is bringing wholeness to my spirit that i didn’t know was possible.

God is there with us in the midst of community, and he’s laughing and weeping alongside us. when we have communitas, it means that no matter what comes our way, or what might break us down, there are always our brothers and sisters around us to just be with us.

so ask yourself again: am i a legitimate part of communitas? if you’re realizing that you’re not, then you’re missing out. our souls long for that sense of community, for the ability to be transparent and one with all of those around us. seek it out, wherever you’re at, sit down and break down the barriers in your community and see if you might find a real sense of communitas, of what it means to have an intense community spirit. you’re only going to be better off if you find it, and maybe it’s just what you’ve been crying out for and needing to have.

God has designed us for community, and it’s through the aspect of communitas that we’re really going to find out what we have been designed for. may we go now and be blessed by a little bit of communitas, a little bit of love, and a little bit of genuine togetherness. and then maybe we can just be.

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