Community grows as we connect in person and even through media
We tend to think of community in small, face-to-face connections, but community extends to our locale, region, nation, globe and the less geographically bound virtual community, which includes media.
A poster in the window of Kizuri fair trade store in the Community Building offers ideas on how to build interpersonal community, such as turn off TV, know the neighbors, honor elders, read stories aloud, ask for help, sing together, share skills, listen to understand and challenge injustice.
Speaking on “Celebrating Community” at the 2015 Interfaith Thanksgiving service, Joan Milton told about Mid-City Concerns Meals on Wheels starting in 1964 when several congregations downtown “saw a need, got together and met the need.” In joining together, they feed bodies, nurture souls and save lives, because volunteers who deliver meals often also visit with the people and build relationships.
Sr. Mary Eucharista, a Sister of Mary the Mother of the Church, added “community is a wondrous concept, but it’s not easy to live. It requires sacrifice, denying ourselves to leave room for others, and regarding others as persons of intrinsic worth.”
That aspect of community embraces mutual accountability, such as the United Nations recently challenging U.S. police shooting African Americans as one part of police brutality that includes interrogations, maximum security, solitary confinement and the death penalty. The UN challenges the idea of police acting with impunity as if they are not part of or accountable to the wider community—the world. It’s a challenge for each of us to work for change.
As I perused Facebook to learn how friends and family spent Thanksgiving. It included a Rick Steves’ challenge of systemic hunger, concern about inequality in Ferguson, a cousin’s cute Thanksgiving dress, a dad released from the hospital, 30 people at a Walmart protesting for fair wages, a first Thanksgiving with a grandson, a family around a candlelit table, and a quote of Martin Luther King Jr. that hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do it.
Social media do keep us “in touch” and challenge us to think and act. Media do not replace personal interactions, but can connect people with each other. When we see glimpses into people’s lives and thoughts, we can begin to see beyond our own entrenched perspectives.
I find community in final stage of editing The Fig Tree, allowing an interviewee to review an article, so it reflects what the person means. In listening, how often do we check back to confirm if what we think we heard is what the speaker means?
Mary Stamp - editor
Copyright © December 2014 - The Fig Tree