The Challenge of Building Community

I found this post at the blog How To Save The World very interesting. I have been following this blog for a bit – the writer is very pessimistic about the environment and generally about the direction our world is going, almost so pessimistic that I don’t like to read it (which says a fair bit!), but nevertheless has some very good stuff to say. His post today on building community brings up some interesting thoughts regarding the idea of community – he is not talking about christian stuff here – but many of the thoughts apply, and some of what he says sounds like it’s out of a Christian church growth book. That doesn’t make it good or bad of course – but I do find it interesting. Here’s a quote:

“We’re starting to discover that the only effective way to make the world better is from the bottom up — by creating or evolving self-sufficient communities…… But creating community is not easy. In Creating a Life Together Diana Leafe Christian describes some of the challenges of intentional communities — finding members, creating honest consensus, resolving disputes, finding the right place to live, keeping it sustainable. This is tough work, and most intentional communities that do work are, well, rather pathetically small. It almost seems as if, as soon as you put more than a certain number of people into one interdependent group, you need hierarchy to keep things in order. Why might this be?”

By the way – his “magic numbers” for group life are “making a living with 30-50 cohorts and living with and loving 150” basing those numbers on “hunter gatherer society “bands” and “clans” – maybe that’s why many churches are under 150?

I thought it was interesting reading anyway…


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