This week’s guest post comes to us from Omar, who serves as the Pastor of Community Life at The Plant, a church in Mahwah, New Jersey. Enjoy!
I love community. I also hate community.
I love community for the obvious reasons an extrovert would love community. I love being around people. I love engaging in meaningful conversations over flavorful food and a nice bottle of wine. It’s fantastic to walk into a bar, grocery store, restaurant, or bank and strike up conversations with people you’ve known for years and those you haven’t. Community is fun, refreshing, exciting, and can be counted on to help you laugh so hard your stomach hurts.
I hate community for the obvious reasons of why someone from New Jersey would hate community. I am individualistic and super independent. I’d rather take care of something myself than trust someone else to do the job for me. I’d rather sit at home and lose myself in three episodes of 24. I’d rather tackle something I can’t deal with by myself, than be tackled by the disappointment of trusting too much. You see, community is intrusive, apartment boggling, and can be counted on to make you cry so hard it makes your heart hurt.
I love community because it keeps me from remaining an individual, from living in isolation. Community challenges me to trust in people rather than in myself. Community hangs at home with me and watches three episodes of 24 over flavorful food and a nice bottle of wine. Community helps me to deal with the disappointment of trusting too much by helping me to trust again.
You see community keeps me from being this bitter, angry, isolated, lonely, unforgiving, offended, hard-hearted individual. Community helps me to heal. Community helps my character become what God intended my character to be—a loving, compassionate, listening, grateful, engaging, not taking life too seriously individual.
I need community to help shape my character. I need community to keep me honest. I need community so I can deal with my stuff and come out of life circumstances looking more like what God intended me to be. Maybe I really just love community. Maybe the things that I hate about community are really just things that make me love and appreciate community so much more. Maybe community is more than just people, but it’s also the processes that involve people to build our character. It’s makes you more you and me more me, so we can have a better us.