Sunday, 2 November 2014

Community, unity, discernment and friendship

I've pressed the 'pause' button on Greenbelt ABC ( long as it's completed by the time the next festival comes around...) : partly because RL as they say, looms large just now, Mr GP's mother died several weeks ago and we have the funeral tomorrow. It's been quite hard to concentrate on much else. Also, might as well blame my INFPishness....aka tendency to flit around from metaphorical flower to metaphorical flower,  all too easily distracted by the new and shiny.  That's my excuse, anyway.

So it was last week as I struggled to respond to a questionnaire generated by our church. To give some background here: our  community has reached, if not the end , certainly a pause in what's been a long  rebuilding project, inspired by a major discernment on the part of the congregation some seven or eight years ago. Now it's time to rest, take stock, reflect and pray about where, we as a community are being called to be and to do in the coming years. Hence some points for us all to ponder before an opportunity to meet together to pray, discuss and begin to discern in a few weeks time. 

So it was not altogether serependitious (speeling!) that in the same week I stumbled across not one, but two words I'd not known  before, both relating to the outworking of community: Gemeinshaft, via The Love that Moves the Sun's reflections on Unity and Community, and Gelassenheit from an old blog post of Radref's intriguing thoughts on whether some aspects of contemporary Christian spirituality plays down close friendships in favour of community life.  

Oh - the joys of the blogosphere, when you discover  unexpected treasures like these that set your thoughts off on a whole new track! Even if none of this got translated into the rather woffly response I sent in. Though this brought about another revelation: After a lifetime of thinking I express myself better in writing than verbally, I think the opposite might be true now. Maybe I'm developing wisdom along with the grey hairs. Plus an ability to look out beyond the level of my own navel.


  1. Thoughts & prayers for you and Mr GP, especially tomorrow. The death of a parent, however old we are, is - well, simply HUGE. Take care of yourselves.

    I've found myself thinking a lot about community lately. As an introvert I thought I didn't need it quite so much, and was happy to be a passenger on the bus (see my post - and thanks for the plug) but since joining a new church last year I'm realising both how much I'd missed it, and how much I need to learn about it. Always worth reflecting on and I hope your church's reflections are fruitful.

    Sorry, far too long for a comment!

  2. Yes, as an introvert myself I have a mixed relationship with community: often can't live with it, can't live without it either and like you have much to learn. Phil's reflections intrigue me; I wonder what exactly those qualities of community that militate against close friendship might be?

  3. Hope the funeral went well,

    I was interested to read about some aspects of community work against close friendship, I can see that being the case in communal living situations but less so in a more general Church (or other) community, so I'm a bit intrigued

    Like you I'm always fascinated by new words

  4. Thank you, it did.

    Yes, it intrigued me, too. I'd be interested to know if the author could elaborate a bit to say why he/she feels this to be the case.


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