I’m having a very peaceful lunch break at the Northshire Bookstore and I came accross a great book called Community and Growth by Jean Vanier, the founder of the l’Arche community. She distinguishes a community from groups with a particular cause or agenda:
“A community will say come and see. It wants to manifest the truth in a non-violent way, offering the truth to others; visitors are encouraged to come, to ask questions to experience the way of life. A community knows that the fundamental questions of life can only be looked at in a spirit of peace and inner freedom. Nobody can force anyone else to love and to walk in freedom. Militants for a cause will tend to be organized for a struggle which they hope to win; they will seek to impose their way aggressively. Frequently they seek outward change more than inward change” (86).
And there you have it. The ideal for the church vs. the tendency of the Christian right. It’s far to easy to sacrifice community for a cause.