I'm working on a sermon for this coming Sunday on the topic of, you guessed it, community. While searching for direction I've been grasping at anything and everything I can get my hands on. I found this entry in Wikipedia quite interesting. I think it quite accurately describes the reason for the rise and demise of the Young Adults Group at Glendale.
Community building and organizing
M. Scott Peck is of the view that the almost accidental sense of community which exists at times of crisis, for example in New York City after the September 11, 2001 attacks, can be consciously built. Peck believes that the process of "conscious community building" is a process of building a shared story, and consensual decision making, built upon respect for all individuals and inclusivity of difference. He is of the belief that this process goes through four stages:
Pseudo-community: Where participants are "nice with each other", playing-safe, and presenting what they feel is the most favourable sides of their personalities.
Chaos: When people move beyond the inauthenticity of pseudo-community and feel safe enough to present their "shadow" selves. This stage places great demands upon the facilitator for greater leadership and organisation, but Peck believes that "organisations are not communities", and this pressure should be resisted.
Emptiness: This stage moves beyond the attempts to fix, heal and convert of the chaos stage, when all people become capable of acknowledging their own woundedness and brokenness, common to us all as human beings. Out of this emptiness comes
True community: the process of deep respect and true listening for the needs of the other people in this community. This stage Peck believes can only be described as "glory" and reflects a deep yearning in every human soul for compassionate understanding from one's fellows.
More recently Scott Peck has remarked that building a sense of community is easy. It is maintaining this sense of community that is difficult in the modern world.
Community building can use a wide variety of practices, ranging from simple events such as potlucks and small book clubs to larger–scale efforts such as mass festivals and construction projects that involve local participants rather than outside contractors.