My friend Anna recently commented on an old Schmexas post called ‘Sometimes You’re Just Not Feeling Like Community.’ She asks some really great questions, and I’d like to spend some time thinking about them together. Here’s what she wrote:
I had an experience of not feeling like community this morning at the gym…actually, make that every time I go to the gym. Although, now that I think about it, maybe I’m wrong about that. I wonder if perhaps there is a definite line between community and socializing. Does community necessarily involve conversation and social niceties? What are the essential elements that must be present in order to have “community”? I say this because although the last thing I want to do in my early morning sweaty hour of ugliness is have a conversation with someone, I do sense a kind of community going on there. I feel a kinship with these other smelly, perspiring, folks. I don’t want to get to know these people, make friends with them, or invite them to dinner, and yet they are my community somehow. Is it because we are all struggling and suffering alongside one another? What makes a community a community?
Well? Good questions, eh? I’m curious to know what your gut-reaction answers are. And if you take some time to think about them, do your answers change?
Let’s pretend that this is a pop quiz. Get out a piece of notebook paper, and be sure to put your name and date at the top to get participation credit today.
1.) Does community necessarily involve conversation and social niceties?
2.) What are the essential elements that must be present in order to have “community”?
3.) What makes a community a community? Is it because we are all struggling and suffering alongside one another?
Okay, for real now. I am serious about wanting to know your thoughts. I know that many of you are thinking about these questions because you are e-mailing me about them and bringing them up when we meet for coffee.
So really, think about it–I look forward to hearing your responses. You have my permission to number them.
[Feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an e-mail here: schmexas (at) gmail (dot) com. (For future reference, this address is now listed under the “About” tab above.) If you do e-mail me, let me know if I have permission to use your thoughts and words in future blog posts. As I’ve said before, Texas Schmexas is meant to be a forum for conversation, not just me and you, one-on-one, but all of us together.]