Created Tues, Mar. 12, 2002
Community Is Vital What Type of
Love Is Essential
How It Used To Be
The Needs of People and a Community
The Importance of Communion with Nature
What Land Does For Us
Unity Triumphs Over Diversity
Worldly Examples of Unity
The Need to Belong
The Subtle Use of the Media
Where We Went Wrong (WWWW)
The Real Problem
What Is The Basis Of Community?
How Some Have Done It
Hazards of the City
What Shall We Do?
What I Am Not Saying
Individual Rights vs. Group Rights
Rebelling Against the Community
Community Is Vital
What Type of
Community Is Vital
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This is a very important topic for a number of reasons. First, because in America, we are without a sense of community and we desperately need it. Second, because we do not know that we are hurting without it, or that we need it. We are like a person who does not know they have cancer until the doctor tells them. They felt a little out of sorts maybe, or not, but they are shocked at the news. Third, God intended us to live together in communities and act as communities, not as individuals.
In America, we have a tradition that honors the rugged individualist. We treasure such an image. We think it is a good thing. We are wrong. Communities provide many important benefits that most of us do not realize. Living within, and being a part of a community is essential for human living and survival. We have lost that understanding among European Americans for sure, and perhaps most other types as well, though some have more community among their own than others do. Maybe some have too much, if that is possible. There is a balance in everything. But having some measure of community is essential and I will show why.
Also worth realizing is the tragic lack of community among various Christians. They have failed to recognize the terrible error of insisting on too much doctrinal agreement among believers. They do not grasp how the Apostles were the only ones who could settle doctrinal disputes and that when they died, so did the ability to maintain doctrinal purity. The Apostles, themselves, foresaw and foretold of the corrupting of Christianity. But today's followers have not recognized that the wheat and weeds must grow together until the harvest, the return of Jesus. And until that time, there are things that are very important to recognize and things that are not that important and not capable of being settled until such time as Jesus arrives again to restore the kingdom of God on earth and correct all doctrinal matters.
So Christianity exists divided on earth. To some degree, that may be necessary. Some things should not be tolerated by Christians or accepted in Jesus' name. But many other things are not essential and should not be grounds for divisions among the brethren and yet they are. So we are going to consider all aspects of community and why it is so essential to both Christians and all mankind.
Lastly, our world and the USA both dramatically suffer because of
our destruction and outright persecution of a sense of community. They prefer to
have us divided and isolated. When we understand the vital part that community living plays in the
lives of all, we will better understand why our world is so messed up
and why so many horrible things are happening in our day that have
never happened before.
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1John 3: 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brothers. The one not loving the brother remains in death.
Obviously, love for the brothers is essential.
1John 3: 17 Whoever has the means of life of the world, and sees his brother having need, and shuts up his bowels from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
14 My brothers, what is the gain if anyone says he has faith, but he does not have works? Is faith able to save him?
15 But if a brother or a sister is naked and may be lacking in daily food,
16 and any one of you say to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, but does not give them the things the body needs, what gain is it?
17 So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself.
Love means more than just lip service. It must move us to help our brothers and sisters, physically, and with our own resources, if necessary.
1John 4: 20 If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one not loving his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love God whom he has not seen?
To not love is to be a hypocrite and liar. Love is absolutely essential. We can all agree on that, right?
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil
and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others?
Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The Bible makes it clear, that we must love more than just our brothers in the faith. It must extend to everyone, even those who are not believers. Jesus makes that more clear in the illustration of the good Samaritan.
Luke 10: 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
Good question, no? Who is our neighbor? Jesus answered with his illustration. He told of a man who fell prey to robbers who beat him, left him for dead and took all his things. The man had been going from Jerusalem to Jericho so he might have even been a Jew. Both a Levite and a priest walked by the man and ignored him. And they were supposed to be men of God, worshippers of Jehovah. But they showed no compassion for the man. But a Samaritan man came by, and extended himself in behalf of the man so much that he not only gave the man medical help, but put him on his own beast of burden to be carried while he walked. And then he turns the man over to an innkeeper and gives the keeper money to keep and care for the man and promises that when her returns, if more money was required, he would pay that to the keeper as well. Of course, the Samaritan was extraordinary in the lengths he went to help this unfortunate man. And Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews. This makes the whole thing even more extraordinary.
Surely, Jesus' illustration should not be overlooked by us. We must extend ourselves for others and show as much compassion as possible, just as the Samaritan did. Now lets finish the illustration. Jesus asked the lawyer a question.
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"
37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
So we have our instructions, do we not? We are to be like the
Samaritan, who gave no concern to who the man was but showed mercy
and compassion for the man. And from it, we should now realize that
we must care about all people who we live around and amongst; our
neighbors, whether believers or not. Love and Community Are
How It Used To
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Now how can we love our neighbors if we don't talk to them or want to know them? Even worse, when they are in need, how can we ignore them? But in the world we live in today, people in the same neighborhood do not know each other, talk to each other, or help each other. They are very distant from each other and prefer to keep it that way. Amazingly, it was not always that way. But we will get to that later.
I want to point some things out from the law of Moses, Exodus to Deuteronomy, in particular. When someone was in some way hurt, injured, violated, robbed, or killed by another, the case was to be tried by the older men of the community. They would conduct the trial or any other business in the public square, the most open and public place in the town, where all or many could be witnesses. The public carefully watching put additional pressure on the judges to do their job right. The public reinforced what was right and wrong. You were judged by those around you, your community. It was the community who was responsible for the administration of justice.
Everyone had their own land that they inherited as a right from birth, as God instructed and apportioned to them in the first place. But they also functioned as a community, conducting business and community affairs amongst themselves. If a bride was to be bought, the deal was done in the public square where there would be ample witnesses to testify to the deal made, in case it was ever disputed. Making a deal in the community's eyes sanctioned the deal, giving it credibility and respect in the community's eyes. A marriage was not recognized if not done in the eyes of the community. There had to be witnesses who could verify that a marriage took place. The Bible issued a legal precedent for all transactions and activity in a town or community.
Deuteronomy 17: 6 On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses he that is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.
Deuteronomy 19: 15 "A single witness shall not prevail against a man for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed; only on the evidence of two witnesses, or of three witnesses, shall a charge be sustained.
So it becomes apparent that a community puts enforcement in effect and reinforces the rules and standards by which men live. By the same hand, a community could get sloppy or abdicate their responsibility to live up to God's law and they often did just that.
In Jesus' day, Jews met at synagogues every Sabbath, the last day of the week, to read the scriptures and meditate on God's words. It was another way in which communities reinforced and preserved the worship of God in their towns and villages. In addition, towns often had walls to protect them from robbers, marauding bands, and armies as well. So even defense and protection were somewhat community affairs.
Now in most times in history prior to the present industrial age, people lived off the land. And needing a fair amount of land to produce enough to sustain a family, prevented any town from becoming too big or dense. While some lived in the cities as tradesmen, others still tended farms while living in the town. They would go out to their fields and come back or they might live out by their fields during planting or harvesting and then come into town to live at other times. Others would live on their land outside of town and venture in to socialize and do business.
They could not afford to travel too far by foot, so it kept towns on the small side. This was a good thing. Small towns did not over burden the environment too much and people could maintain healthy relations with each other. Density was limited because of logistical limits imposed by the lack of transportation and shipping. A cart and maybe an animal to pull it might be all that you had so you needed to be fairly close. And in the event of attack, they wanted to be able to get to a town fast. People often found it advantageous to live fairly near each other as there was security and protection in numbers, which has always been important as man seems to be somewhat criminal in nature anyway.
In those times, numbers were necessary for survival. There was no police force. It was townspeople defending themselves from outsiders and from criminal actions from each other. They had to learn to be independent, self-sufficient and creative as there was no federal government or anyone else who might be able to bail them out or protect them. They were on their own, except when there was a threat from an invading army. In that case, neighboring towns would usually stick together. Some groups of towns constituted a city, some cities formed a national alliance, at least in times of war. Often, alliances were forced upon a group of towns. But day to day life revolved primarily around a town and its community.
This had some positive effects on many things. If a community thought a certain behavior was improper or wrong, one would have to be very careful how one conducted one's self in front of others in the town. Everyone knew everyone. That was good. You could not do things unobserved or in anonymity. Because of your being well known, committing a crime was difficult in front of others, without the approval of those around you. Today, we can do lots of things around others and no one seems to care. Rapes have literally been carried out in the middle of public, in broad daylight, in front of many onlookers. No one cared or thought that another person being attacked was of their responsibility or concern. It was not their problem, as they saw it. No feeling or compassion for another soul.
Living in a small town gives you that sense of responsibility. You
don't hand it off to police or some other public functioning body. It
is up to you and your townsmen. We have failed to realize that we
always have a duty toward each other and a responsibility towards
each other at all times. We have no right to pass it off to someone
or something else. That is irresponsible and negligent. And being
personally involved and connected with everyone in your town gives
you that added incentive. It is much easier to ignore a stranger you
don't know than to ignore someone you very well know. The more
involvement we have with others, the more we tend to be more
considerate and caring.
Needs of People and a Community
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We have discussed war and crime in a community. But in addition, there were other types of hardships that are bound to happen and unavoidable. Locusts could wipe out many fields and crops, leaving a majority of a town without food. There might be enough from the fields that were untouched or they might have to beg from another town and/or sell themselves into slavery for 7 years. Maybe their house would be struck by lightning and the house would burn down or some other accident might set the house on fire. Maybe the father died and left the family without a good provider. Any number of things could occur which might require help, lots of it.
A community cared for each other and all knew that it could happen to any one of them. So they did not hesitate in most towns, to help each other out by helping to rebuild a house or barn, to share food, help people out when sickness was in the family. Some were more knowledgeable in regards to medical treatment and might treat someone in barter or even do it for free in some cases. There were no municipal, state, or federal agencies to bail them out, nor any insurance company to put them back in business. They had to relay on each other and that was a good thing. It reinforced and reaffirmed their commitment to each other and their need for each other. It drew them closer together. It also saved them a lot of money since insurance and governments charge a lot of money for their "services." I will deal with that soon.
Today, with all the various governmental agencies and insurances we have, we have come to falsely believe that we do not need our neighbors and can do without them. That has hurt us and created distance where there should be closeness and a bond between us. We have no sense of unity and cohesion and we do not reinforce any standards.
A people is never more effective or prosperous than when there is unity and purpose among them. When they have a common sense of identity, they will be tougher to beat or defeat. Any good army knows that when you want to beat another army or nation, you divide them, then conquer. If possible, a nation can be defeated, merely by causing division among the people. That is why in time of war, dissent among the people is not allowed. Those who speak out against a cause or war will be silenced or otherwise the war effort is at risk. There is nothing harder to bring down than a people who are united and dedicated to each other. Any imperial power must first establish a common vision or goal and unity among its people before it can get them to go off to war.
Unity, cohesion, a common or shared identity, a shared goal or vision, these all bring a people together. It tends to be much easier to bring people together when they depend on each other and share common values and ethics. Nothing divides and separates like a disagreement in laws or values. People tend to gravitate towards others who think and believe as they do about laws, conduct, etc. That is why towns and races formed in the first place. People who had a similar vision of things wanted to be together so as to reinforce each others beliefs and goals. That is why many colonists first set off for America. They wanted to settle their own towns where they could think and do as they saw proper and right. They wanted to worship in freedom without interference from government as had been the case with Great Britain.
So colonies formed in America, where people had a common vision
and purpose and looked out for each other and helped each other in
their efforts to live and survive. A community is a necessary thing
if your children are to have partners to marry, as well. So a
community could preserve their vision from one generation to the
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Tribes were much the same in their ideas of community. They shared common beliefs and life styles. They had an agreed upon way of conduct and law. They stayed together in tribes that would make living easier, give them security and protection from hostile tribes, and allow their kids to carry on the tribe and way of life they had started by marrying and maintaining the tribal ways. One way they might have differed, was in their lifestyle. Many tribal communities were often nomadic. They liked the lifestyle of hunting and gathering, maybe planting in the summer as well. But they clearly saw and understood the importance of being together and sticking together. They needed each other, if for no other reason at all, than to breed. Who better to breed with, than others who thought as you did, to some degree and agreed to a life and code that you agreed to.
So the very same advantages were recognized and observed by tribal peoples as by colonists coming to America. Perhaps the tribal people much better understood and appreciated the importance of their tribe, their community. The Indians of North America held land in common, sharing it amongst all in the tribe. The tribe was seen as an extended family. Property was seen as tribal property. They stayed together and wanted to stay together. Their sense of identity and unity was strong. They also saw themselves as one with the land and environment. They well knew and appreciated their dependence on the land and respected that need to be kind and caring to that which their lives depended on. They would not think of abusing something so vital to their lives as the environment, which they tended to just call land. Land meant many things to them. It was a big word.
The one weakness of many colonists who came over to the Americas was that they had been born and raised in a somewhat industrial or trade oriented environment by the 1600's. It was not nearly in full swing as of yet, but present nonetheless. Primarily just metal and wood workers at the time, they would soon be influenced by greedy industrialists who loved nothing but money. So they would not give the respect to the world / land / environment that Indians gave to it.
The colonists were more familiar with servitude and working for others for wages. In time, this would become a more prominent feature of the European settlers. They would depend more on crafts and industry as occupations for sustaining their lives rather than living off the land as the Natives were fond of doing. This inevitably led to conflicts between the 2 lifestyles. When life styles conflict, they do not make for compatibility between 2 peoples. To unite, they must have a common life style, not antagonistic ones. The resulting conflict and confrontation was a disaster, especially for the Indians of North America, as their side was technologically deficient and technology was where the power was.
Today, Indians live very much the way all North Americans, in
fact, most of the world, lives. They have houses, jobs, and all the
modern conveniences of the modern industrial age. The industrial age
has brought some benefits in a material sense. Food scarcity is much
less a problem. Comfort is at a much higher level I think. I would
not want to give up heating, air conditioning, and the luxurious
shelter most of us enjoy as well as plumbing and energy available
with a switch. Its all very nice and even the Native American Indians
seem to enjoy many aspects of it. But . . .with one exception,
Importance of Communion with Nature
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At least in Maine, the Penobscot Nation is quite upset with the pollution and desecration of Maine's largest river system, the Penobscot River system and basin it empties out into, the Gulf of Maine with its surrounding islands, including the marvelous Acadia National Park. They complain about the pollution levels found and what they monitor. They have urged the federal government to take control of the environmental enforcement and protection of the river system as they seem to believe that the State of Maine is too corrupt to handle the responsibility and that the Federal Government would be more responsible. I tend to agree with them. But that is not the issue here.
What the Indians have wisely recognized is man's need to live within nature and live close to nature. Indians still like to learn the old ways of their ancestors and continue them. Of course, the young resist at times, but it manages to continue at present. The Indians in many parts of the country have been granted rights to continue fishing and other life style choices as they always have. The politics is not what I want to discuss, though. What I want to point out is that it is still a very strong desire for the Indian to live close to nature, to be one with nature and the environment. It disturbs the Indian that industrialists and as they see it, all who live under that system willingly, have such a reckless disregard for the land and environment. Of course, the Indians are not the only ones who protest our wanton disregard for nature.
There are a number of other groups who became prominent or came to be in the 1960's, who also saw this need. Not just to avoid poison and pollution, but also to be closer to the land from which we once had a closer relationship with. Many see it as a religious observance or attitude in harmony with God. When removed from the land, people suffer, both physically and psychologically as well, in the minds of some. Studies of social scientists and psychologists would seem to bear this out. New York was a perfect example. As New York grew as a city, people longed for some contact with nature. They felt they had lost part of what it is to be human. So before the whole island of Manhattan became a city, they set aside a large piece of land to become a nature preserve. It came to be known as Central Park.
Many offices brought plants into buildings. In many areas, more
attention was given to trying to balance the concrete jungles with
some touches of nature. But I think many of the attempts fall far
short of what is really needed. We need much more of nature than many
of us currently have. The Indians were very much ahead of us in that
respect. We need to be part of the land again. I will call this "self
evident," a term phrased by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of
Independence. It needs no real defense. It should be obvious to all.
We need nature. We are a part of nature. That is where we were
originally from, in our earliest days as a race and species.
Does For Us
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When we were tied to the land, as we were when we were a mostly agricultural society, we could not live in very large population centers as we do now. Logistics would just not allow it. Farm land takes up a lot of area so you can't squeeze lots of people into a small area when most of it grows food or raises cattle. Living from the land keeps everything in healthy proportion. You have enough people to rely on for social relations, security, and insurance. But you also have plenty of nature.
When tied to the land, we did not need to move around all the time as we do when looking for a better job, job promotion, or whatever. Today, most of us rely on corporations and employers for making a living. They require us to move to serve them better or just to find a better paying job. When tied to the land, you get what you need and you stay put.
The advantage of this is that you grow up with all the same people and develop very close ties with them. There is familiarity and continuity in the community and between generations. When you move around all the time, you never get a chance to get settled and become a part of an area and people. Moving around causes all sorts of instability and breaking of social ties and bonds. This is not a good thing, it is bad thing.
When you grow up with all the same people, you get to know what they are and what they aren't. You know what your neighbors are really like so that if you want to marry someone, you will not have to wonder about them and their background. You will know it all well. You know who you can rely on and who you can not. You know who to be cautious about or to avoid. You are reasonably safe and secure among a people that you know and are connected to. You can't have unity and trust without knowing people and having some sort of relationship with them.
Of course, being dependant on an employer is not the only problem. We have become a much more mobile as a society as well. Mass transportation of all types and speeds is very affordable and available. We can fly across the world in a day. We can go by train, bus, or car. We can take a boat across the ocean in a few days. As a result, there are lots of people coming and going all around us who we do not know. They are complete strangers.
So when many of us are on the move for employment, we do not have a community to which we belong and have deep roots with. We live in a town of strangers. We have no sense of belonging, no sense of love or care, not sense of protection or security, nothing that we can rely on. We depend on AAA for our car breakdowns, insurance for our troubles and disasters, governments for some things, but never our community which can draw us all together. We have missed so much. Not to mention, Insurance is a in business to make a very great profit, to the tune of at least 80%. So when we pay insurance to bail us out of disaster, we pay 80% more than we need to. Many of us pay automobile insurance for which we will collect only a small fraction of what we pay.
Government programs are much more expensive and less accountable
than they would be if administered by communities. Everything is much
easier to track and keep account of if it is on a small local scale.
We would save unfathomable large amounts of money if we did not
depend on insurance and government programs funded by our taxes to
care for our needs. I very much like the idea of social assistance,
if it was from our neighbors. We all are vulnerable to unforeseen and
unavoidable circumstances. So it is nice to be there for each other
and help each other out in those times. But if communities took
responsibility for these things instead of leaving it up to insurance
companies and governments, we would save all kinds of money and be
much happier. But we have hurt ourselves by wanting to be
independent, unattached, unconnected, and unaccountable to our
neighbors. And a part of this is being unattached to the land and
depending on employers who do not care about keeping us in our
communities. In fact I will go so far as to suggest that it has
always been recognized by corporations and employers that it is
better to keep us divided so as to be able to "conquer" us and
control and manipulate us as individuals.
Triumphs Over Diversity
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In order to keep us divided, the big boys have come up with an idea that highlights and praises the so called benefits of "Diversity." It suggests that diversity is healthy and good. But for what they do not say. They think that our minds will all be opened with exposure to different ways and ideas. Why they do not account for or explain is what to do when a conflict of ideas and ways can not be reconciled or settled. It is a thin disguise to promote even more disintegration, disunity, disagreement, and more division so that there will be absolutely no cohesion or unity whatsoever among the people. They will have no identity or common vision. Many immigrants do not really want our beliefs or heritage. They just want our nice economy and life style. That does not promote unity. It promotes discord, which is what controllers and social engineers want.
It is a hard fact of reality, however unpleasant to some, that values, ethics, morals and the like all tend to fall along racial lines. What is unacceptable to one culture or race, is just fine by another. When they can't agree with each other or abide by each other, then they fight and kill each other or they move away from each other. That is how races and cultures came to form it the first place. When they could not get along or abide by each other, they would kill each other or they would put distance between themselves and live separately. Now they want to undo what human nature has naturally formed, a division between cultures based on their choices of how to live as groups. Now we want to try to force them to mix and live with each other harmoniously, which is what they have never been able to do and always results in wars. It is much better is we keep separate when our values, ethics, morals, lifestyles and other choices differ significantly.
What I want to emphasize in the most dramatic terms is that this should not be based on race. It should be based as it almost always has, on our values and choices. It just so happens that those usually fall along racial lines and some forget that and tend to focus exclusively on race when it is actually culture that is the reason for some separation. Christianity is the most obvious example where race should not matter. God's word unites any man, nation, race, or culture. The Christian ethics and values become the basis of our culture at that point. We may dress a little different of prefer different food or music, but in the most important regard, our choice of laws, conduct, morals, ethics, standards and so on, are all the same. They all come from God and not men.
34 And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,
35 but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
So it is a man respecting God's laws that is acceptable to God and should be acceptable to other Christians as well.
But we would do well to consider the rules and policies that God gave to Israel in the law of Moses. I will assume some familiarity with the law on the part of readers. If you have not read the law, the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy, then you should do so after reading this article.
After God gave the land of Canaan to the people of Israel, He commanded the sons of Israel to keep themselves free of foreign influences and foreign residents unless they accepted the worship of Jehovah, the God of Jacob / Israel, Isaac, and Abraham. He also told them to drive the Canaanites out of the land or eliminate them to do so. Israel had to do this or the Canaanites would become a snare, a trap, to the sons of Israel and cause them to worship other gods and leave off following Jehovah, according to His words. And when one group of Canaanites deceived Israel into a peace treaty, God allowed them to live but on the condition that they adopt the worship of Jehovah and become slaves and servants to the people of Israel. On the other hand, Israel would still be required to treat them fairly and kindly as God reminded them that they had been slaves in Egypt.
But what this clearly shows is that God did not believe in or subscribe to "diversity." God, instead, chose solidarity, unity, oneness, and loyalty to His principles, laws, and worship. As Jesus put it, you can not serve 2 masters. Either Jehovah, or someone else but not both. Jehovah often put it that way was well. As Elijah put it:
1 Kings 18: 21 And Elijah came near all the people and said, Until
when are you limping over two opinions?
If Jehovah is God, follow Him; and if Baal, follow him. But the people did not answer him a word.
God knew how people can and do influence each other, just as a wife and husband have an effect and influence on each other. So He saw the need to preserve His worship, His creation, the nation of Israel, and the way to do that was to keep Israel separate from other peoples who did not adhere to the worship of Jehovah as Israel was commanded to do. However, if any alien resident came into the land of Israel and wanted to settle, he was required to obey the laws of Israel / God, which included worshiping Jehovah, the God of Israel. No multiculturalism here. My way or the highway, declares God.
With a common worship and sense of identity and culture, Jehovah united a people in a goal and purpose, a deep bond going back to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israelites came out of Egypt together. They had a heritage and legacy and a supreme assignment from the God and Creator, Jehovah, a divine mandate. God also allowed a way for others to join the culture as well. He was not exclusionary without good reason. If people accepted His ways, then they were welcome.
Jehovah once said this about unity and solidarity in Genesis 11: 1 "Now the whole earth had one language and few words."
The people then decided to congregate in one large area and build cities, most particularly one that came to be called Babel. It was not God's will. He had wanted them to spread out more and they also chose to worship other gods as well and glorify themselves. So God made the following comment and took appropriate action.
5 And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of Adam had built.
6 And Jehovah said, Behold, the people is one, and the lip [language] one to all of them,
and this they are beginning to do, and now all which they have purposed to do will not be restrained from them.
7 Come, let Us go down and confuse their language so that they cannot understand one another's speech.
8 And Jehovah scattered them from there, over the face of all the earth. And they stopped building the city.
When a people have a common language and have a common purpose as
these people had at this point, then as God put it, essentially,
there is nothing they will not be able to do if they want to do it.
That is the great thing about unity and solidarity and having a
common vision or purpose. Diversity makes no sense at all.
Examples of Unity
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Consider this! When an army goes off to war, what is it they want from their army? Is it not a common sense of identity and purpose? To think and act as one? How do they accomplish this? Well, they dress them all the same and make them behave and act just the same. They all live by the same rules and regulations. They program and train them in boot camp to thing and act like this and reinforce the lessons with a court-martial, if necessary. And when faced with an obvious common enemy, the men readily unite, anyway. So the army does not practice diversity at all. There maybe be different races, but the difference ends there. They are all United States Marines or whatever other branch of service it might be. They think, act, and behave the same or else!
It is the same with an athletic team, say American Football, for instance. The men all wear the very same uniform. They train together. They have a common goal to accomplish. The coach reinforces good teamwork behavior and punishes guys who disrupt the team atmosphere or even trades them away or just fires them. No room for racism there. The coach and owners will not tolerate it. And it would be divisive and devastating to trying the team spirit and trying to win. Further, a team must know the same hand signals and plays and be able to communicate with each other. No serious language barriers allowed.
Speaking the same language, being on the same page, so to speak, are all essential for unity. And only unity will truly be able to accomplish group goals. People need other people. No man is an island. Isolation will not enable anything to continue to exist and thrive. In order to carry something on, there must be new generations to replenish the group and keep it going. People need things in common to unite them and unity is a good thing, not a bad thing.
Diversity is good when it comes to food, music, dress maybe, engineering. There are lots of good foods and good ways to prepare them and make them taste good. We benefit when we expose ourselves to other ideas in that area. Same with music. It does not define us nor detract from us in itself. Some styles of dress may be more comfortable or practical than others. But they are not essential. There may be more than one way to build something and there is bound to be improvement when every one from every nation shares ideas on how to do something. These are all good examples of why diversity, or should I say, a second opinion or a multitude of opinions and counselors, what we might call brainstorming, is very good. And discussing various ideas and theories is also good.
But then sooner or later, we have to settle on a way that is most effective and beneficial. For instance, when electricity was being developed, a standard had to be agreed upon in order to be able to make it useful and practical. So eventually, after enough discussion and propaganda, AC current became the choice to standardize on. TV required a standard by which to manufacture and broadcast by. We have come to agree on many things in industry. Open minds are important in the beginning when you don't have very much knowledge of your own. But as you gather knowledge, eventually, you should be able to arrive at some judgment. To keep a mind open forever is to refrain from making any decision, in essence, a state of mental paralysis and indecision. Once a body of knowledge is in place, it requires good evidence or proof to merit a change in what you already know. So as I see it, open mindedness is a poor excuse used by some to overthrow a previous order.
If one has subjected what they have or believe to rigorous objective examination, then one has been open minded. One does not need to continue to examine unless new evidence arrives that has not been previously considered. New evidence deserves a fresh unbiased open-minded consideration, for sure. But after having formed something good, particularly in choice of life style, values, and conduct, and is proud of that and believes it is worth preserving, then one must instill that love in future generations so that they will protect and preserve that way of life, that culture.
The same goes for countries and laws. We in the USA have come to live by and agree to certain basic unchangeable laws and rights. The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights are 2 such bodies of doctrine that we live by in the USA. These are not up for discussion forever. We threw things back and forth during the founding of the country until we came up with something we liked. Diversity to what end? To throw out and disown everything we ever first believed in? Did we give it so little thought the first time that we now need to reconsider it all?
Listen, there are plenty of things to reconsider. But there are also things that should probably stay put. Diversity might suggest a few things be tweaked but it is not likely that we are in need of a major overhaul. We need unity, not diversity. Open mindedness is good to a point. But then we have to make a decision and support it. Decisiveness is very much underrated. It is possible that that what we have is good and worth preserving and the diversity will have little or nothing to offer or improve what we have.
And as I pointed out, unity is better encouraged and maintained when people, as soldiers and athletes do, wear the same things and look the same pretty much. When you deviate drastically from the standard style, it is often interpreted as a rejection of your people and culture. How your dress, groom, and present yourself helps to identify where your sympathies exist. It can make quite a statement, good or bad. Rebellion often starts with dress. When England wanted to subjugate Scottish rebels, they banned the Scot's dress, the kilt, their bagpipes, their language. These all helped give the Scots an identity of distinction that the English wanted to crush in order to make them more obedient and submissive to the victorious English authority that the Scots had tried to rebel against.
God had also given Israel a specific way to dress and a different way for females to dress than for males. Their music sang of their past and their beliefs. They even had dietary laws given to them by God. In many ways God sought to distinguish and make Israel stand out from the others around them. That was for a reason. It was important for Israel that there was an obvious and readily recognizable way for them to stand out that they and others would both recognize. With a line clearly drawn in the sand, so to speak, it would be easier to maintain some sort of mental barrier as well and keep the culture and worship clean and free of outside corrupting influences.
Many nations, cultures, and peoples were lost in history because they failed to maintain a distinct sense of identity and purpose. They became "cosmopolitan" and indistinguishable from those who did business with them or conquered them.
So it becomes clear that God wanted to preserve Israel and its worship. This was necessary in order to preserve God's written word, whom Israel was assigned to care for and preserve, record and track the lineages of the sons of Israel, and to promote and preserve the temple and its worship until the Messiah should arrive and give his body and life in sacrifice.
If there is anything that we want to preserve as a group, we must do so as a people who have a sense of identity and purpose. Of unity, solidarity, and cohesion. Of determination and resolve. We need a sense of community to further and advance what we want to protect and expand. We need community so we can continue our own through marriage of those with similar interests. We need community for survival and security. We need a sense of community in order to reinforce the lifestyles and rules we have chosen.
Perhaps we have no better example of that than the modern day
Jews. They have, as far as I can tell, one of the most long lasting
and distantly traceable lineages in the modern world today. They have
lasted as long as they have because they preserved their sense of
community, identity, and loyalty to each other and had some excellent
core values that allowed them to remain distinct, strong, and
successful. They maintain a community with each other, no matter
where they live and even though they do not live beside each other.
They maintain a virtual community, usually revolving around a
synagogue or community center. Many other cultures are not as
The Need to
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Community puts peer pressure on its members to conform and obey the standards of the community. Some communities can be very narrow in what they require or find acceptable but there is no need for a Christian community to fall into such a trap. But communities help reinforce what parents teach to kids. They help maintain values such as marriage and avoiding conduct that could lead to sex without marriage.
More importantly, they can give people a sense of belonging. Everyone wants to fit in somewhere and belong. Our public schools are a disaster because many kids are left feeling as though they don't belong and are not accepted. School often leaves many kids feeling scarred or traumatized. Some even resort to killing others in school. Some, in their desperation for acceptance and belonging, will join up with gangs or a bad crowd, take up smoking and drugs. It should be readily apparent that everyone needs to feel like they are a wanted and accepted member of their community. In most cases, we do not even have communities in a strong sense of the word. So kids will go elsewhere to find what they long for and need.
Even among adults, it is easy to fall in with a bad crowd. We can
easily get lost, lose our own good sense and training and do stupid
things with the wrong people. Many are lonely. They may never do
anything bad, but they suffer. Suicides do not happen for nothing. We
are lost and marooned in life without a group to belong to and
identify with. We have no heritage, nothing to defend, uphold, and
pass on. We have be suckered into accepting vain philosophies
designed to destroy any sense of unity or purpose, any sense of
meaningful community. We need to wake up and get some of that back.
We won't get it all back until Jesus should return to restore all
things. But until then, there is much we can do.
Subtle Use of the Media
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Our children are in constant danger from strangers and relatives alike. But still, I think it has been exaggerated. Most of us live in fear. We have become ever more terrified of others as the media continually harp on rare events, giving them much attention so as to make us believe they are happening everywhere all the time. There is clearly more danger and reason for more concern. But we also have to be careful that we do not let it sour us on any sort of closeness or trust. More than ever before, we need the things that community, love, and trust, bring to us. We need to continue to reach out to others to being them to Christ. We can run, hide, and isolate ourselves from the world. But that would be a disaster and work against God's purpose for us. We are told in the Bible to love and encourage each other more as we behold the day getting nearer to when Christ would return. Let me show you.
24 And let us consider one another, to incitement of love and of good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves, as is the custom of some, but exhorting,
and by so much more as you see the Day drawing near.
The next verse could be seen as disturbing as we see Christians are foreseen as falling away or being misled. How unfortunate. And notice what else happens to them and to the world.
10 And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another.
11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
12 And because wickedness is multiplied, most men's love will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world,
as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.
Because of the escalating crime and violence, wickedness as it is called here, men's love, trust, and affection will grow cold. People will not trust each other and will be overly suspicious of each other, imagining that everyone is a criminal or intends bad for them. We have to be careful that we don't get swept up in this hysteria. For it is also necessary that the gospel must be preached throughout the whole world before the end comes. So more than ever, Christians need to unite and draw together as much as possible. God commands us to draw close to each other and look out for each other.
Think of it this way. All who are going to be saved are going to have to live together in God's kingdom, whether in heaven or on earth. They will have to love each other. If we are going to be required to do that then, then why do we resist doing it now? Will God look upon that attitude favorably? I doubt it. It should be our intense desire to seek out other like minded believers and unite to serve each other, love each other, encourage and up-build each other. And to help each other bring the message of God and His kingdom to people in whatever way we each can, even if it is just something small, to every person on earth. We are here to help God, aren't we?
So Christians who are perhaps disenchanted with mainstream
Christianity, just as I am, might do well to seek out others of the
same mentality so as to reinforce and encourage each other in our
desire to serve and obey God. To ignore or not try to reach out to
others is seen by me as a terrible tragedy. We need to establish a
sense of community among us. That is not to be confused with
establishing some sort of ruling authority over each other. There
should not be any hierarchy or central ruling authority. That is not
how it was done in the Bible. But Christians should want to be with
other Christians. That should be of utmost importance to them.
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Good question! Now we need a good answer. There are many types of communities. Starting with the Maine Sunday Telegram of Dec. 28, 1997 and for the next 5 days after in the Portland Press Herald, was a 6 part series on "Community Lost & Found." In each days article, they discussed the various aspects of community and what was involved. There were themes that were said to create a sense of community such as common interests drawing certain types together, small towns, unique gathering areas, the set up of a neighborhood, etc. So I thought I would address some of the ideas. The articles were well intentioned, of this I am certain. But despite their best intentions, they missed the mark. I will show why.
First of all, many experts do not have the courage to go against
the grain of political correctness as I have done and show that a
common language, dress, values and culture are all good. They won't
address that at all. So lets look at what they do address and see why
it avoids the real issues that I addressed as the real problem.
We Went Wrong (WWWW)
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As I explained earlier, when we were tied to the land as a people of common interests and values, we had a valuable sense of community. As industry took over, we lost some of that community. But much still remained. How come? Well, lets take Maine or New England for instance. Mills once sprung up all over the north, in New England especially, as we had lots of timber to harvest and rivers to harness for power. But we did not have much for transportation so most people who came to work for the mills lived right near by and could walk to work. French Canadians from Quebec, disenchanted with the British conquest of their land, came in the many thousands to work the mills of New England. So large communities of French people popped up around mill towns throughout the New England area. Maine probably had more mills than all the towns of New Hampshire, Vermont, and some of Massachusetts put together because Maine was more blessed with many more river systems than all the rest of those places combined, just as we are in lakes.
So small mill towns in remote places sprung up everywhere and many strong communities formed in those towns. In regards to the French, they had a common language and heritage, and had a common bond in that they all worked at the mill, and lived beside each other. All over the country, various nationalities tended to live together in the same general neighborhoods. You live in proximity to where you worked. This was before the age of cars and even trains were not that big until the end of the 1800's.
But as the country and industry deliberately plotted and changed their system over to one based on roads and trucks instead of trains to support a better infrastructure for industrial war production in the 1930's, our world slowly changed to one that would come to make great use of cars and mobility. After WWII, the car became a more prominent and major part of our lives. Now we had the mobility and roads that would allow us to travel great distances for leisure and pleasure and would allow us to live in more desirable places more removed from the ugly and smelly city, void of nature. So people, now wealthy from the war effort and GI bills to help finance things, headed for the suburbs to settle into the life that came to define post WWII living. But the hidden consequence of this better atmosphere outside of the inner city was the loss of community.
When the people moved to the suburbs, they did not care who they moved next to. They only saw the nice house and yard. They did not really care who their neighbor was. The war had sort of united people, anyway, but only while it lasted. It was too superficial and not enough was held in common for it to be a deep lasting unity. With people vacating the cities, the cities dried up and lost much of their business and appeal. Many areas ran down and became low income housing for welfare cases and immigrants. Businesses closed up. Everything migrated to shopping centers which sprung up on cheap real-estate outside of town, near suburbia and easily reached by automobiles.
Many French thought it was the loss of the French language as the Catholic Church used to give sermons in French until the Irish came into their neighborhoods. Then the Church declared that sermons should be in English so that both could understand the service. They saw it as revolving around their language. They were wrong. It had a lot more to do with moving away from each other. Transportation options dissolved their neighborhoods. They did not care who they lived with. They lived with people who did not have a strong sense of relation with them as they had possessed in the city with their fellow kinsmen from Quebec.
It did not stop there, though. In addition to moving away and diluting their identity and solidarity with those around them, immigrants with much less in common than ever before, were flowing into the country, into the inner cities to further displace what little community might have remained. And in the suburbs, everyone was into their own little world and constantly moving around to various parts of the country, further eliminated any real solid ties with anyone. And as immigrants got used to things and began to move up in income and status, they came out to the suburbs when others had to move. The French were now completely isolated and marooned, stranded in sea of people they had no ties with. They had only ever thought about money, and gave no thought to their community and to their follow kinsmen. So as a group, they were dissolved, in some part, by their own doing, though without being aware of what they were doing. I don't pick on the French as being the only ones who did this. It happened to all communities of all types. The French are just used as an example that has been highlighted on local PBS stations and the newspapers.
One egghead provost and professional planner (who knows not what he plans for he does not understand the dynamic he works with) said: "What America needs is more porches . . . places where you and I could shoot the breeze." If all we wanted was to shoot the breeze, we could do that now without porches. Porches do not begin to address the real problem. We have little to nothing in common with those we live beside anymore. That does not mean that we should not try to forge something in common, but it will be much more difficult and take a lot less to dissolve unless faced with a crisis to unite us which I am sure someone will create in the hopes of bringing that about. But it will not last unless the people want it to. It requires that they have the same values and principles in common. Besides, we still have those porches from the former communities. No one is using them.
The first article in the Maine paper I referred to earlier, highlighted that the common bonds we share with others such as those we work with, sport with, or go to church with, take on more importance as our physical neighborhoods become alienated from each other. Yes, they become very much more important but they do not begin to replace what we lost and need. If we want to make our society much better and cure many of its ills, we need to give far more attention to restoring what I would call, for lack of a better word, segregated communities. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's a good thing. There is no reason why there has to be any hostility between any of them or any gang wars, territory fights or similar. But neighborhoods will be much more effective when they have people who live with each other for a reason. How nice the place is that we buy and live in should be very much a lesser concern.
We are and have been a very materialistic culture. We think only of material comforts and concerns. We give little or no thought to peace of mind, friendship, love, spending time with our children. Everything is pushed back to serve money and material interests. We have paid an awfully dear price for that neglect of our spiritual needs and concerns. It was Paul who wrote in his first letter to Timothy:
1 Timothy 6: 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of
evil: which some reaching,
after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Indeed, most people living in the USA have pierced themselves through by not being more aware of God's plans and ways. They never gave the Bible and God's ways a lot of thought or effort. As a result, they made some foolish moves that have cost them dearly. Even worse, they do not yet realize how they have hurt themselves or that there is even a problem.
The articles in the papers were full of people who remembered what it used to be like. The 1950's came up a lot. They all acknowledge that we have lost that. But I think they are misled when they try to figure out why. In addition to porches, there have been housing areas developed with a large shared piece of property and houses built around it. But if the people who live in it have nothing in common, it will be in vain. Some think the porches and houses built close to side walks in the city helped facilitate community. But we still have many of those houses and streets. But they do not generate what they did before.
It was noted that small towns in Maine often have a lot of that
community flavor that seems to be appealing to some. The difference
there is that many of those residents have been there all their lives
and know each other quite well. A commonly frequented store,
restaurant, or the post office, end up being places where they meet,
greet, and talk. But they also note that many new people who move in
because they want the rural life, also miss and want the many
conveniences of the city which tends to frustrate natives in the
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The real problem with the whole thing is us, the people. Many people do not really want to get too friendly or familiar with anyone. They like being anonymous, independent, unaccountable, unattached, totally free. They don't want to be well known. They have too much they want to hide. They want privacy if not secrecy. The problem is that most do not live very upright lives of decency. They all have lots to be ashamed of or that at least might make people think less of them. They have their own little cliques that they belong to, people they share things in common with and that is all they want to be involved with. They care nothing for those who live around them and that is the way they want it to stay. Sometimes there may be good reasons for this, often, there will not be good reasons for it.
As pointed out earlier, because of increasing crime, trust and love have dwindled to nothing. People fear each other. Some are just stuck up, too. No one seems to realize that they have lost in not wanting to be closer with whoever it is they live beside. But Christians should rise above all that and at least make efforts to be sociable and friendly. But many of the towns that once held a good sense of community, no longer do so, even though the set up of the neighborhood has not changed. It is the people who have changed. Their minds and attitudes have changed. The kinds and types of people who live there have also changed. The things once held in common are gone. They were allowed to disintegrate and evaporate.
Another problem is that many people are so drained of emotions, energy, and spirit when they get home from work. The work place has become a dehumanizing, demoralizing, life draining, spirit crushing destroyer of human souls. Our work atmosphere is destructive and taking a greater toll on us every day. It is part of the reason we now have postal shoot outs and other such horrific events occur around us. When people get home, all they can do is sit there and recover. They have little energy to want to engage in conversation or activities with the neighbors. They often don't have enough left in them to attend to their wife, husband, or kids. Marriages also die because of our insane world.
In addition, I believe "social engineers" have deliberately been soft on crime, finding any excuse to throw a case out, frustrating police, and then releasing criminals after only serving a small portion of their sentence. And often those sentences are light to begin with. The net effect is that most criminals go on to repeat offenses, often many times, before they are caught again. The resultant terror they generate helps create an atmosphere of fear and distrust, if not paranoia. This helps to divide people which enables ever easier manipulation of the people, to their own demise. In addition, the people will be so desperate for relief from crime, that they will gladly submit to a reduction, if not elimination of their basic civil and human rights. The press loves to highlight the crimes and exaggerate their menace and threat as well. Various media are excellent tools to color and influence how people perceive things.
And as covered previously, immigrants who vary far more than those did who came in the 19th and early 20th centuries, also have far less in common than earlier groups who all came from the same general continent of Europe. The more people and cultures differ, the more difficult it will be to merge them with others to from one solid identity and bond.
Bottom line? Between the people having less in common, and with
our own decaying morals and values and desire to be secretive in our
private lives, our destruction of our psyches in the work place,
coupled with an attempt to create hysteria among the people, we end
up with people who want nothing to do with each other. That leaves
one thing. People with common interests or lifestyles seeking each
other out. We have come to call some of these "virtual"
Is The Basis Of Community?
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As I pointed out, the French of New England and especially of modern day Quebec, think it has everything to do with language. And everyone speaking the same language does help unity in a big way. But everyone speaking a distinct language of their own is not important. You can speak any language you want as long as everyone in your community speaks the same language. The key is to be able to communicate freely. When someone can not speak the language well, then it is difficult to communicate and it will be hard to form a good close relationship since communicating is what develops relationships.
But there is no doubt that whatever the common language is, if another is introduced and used to maintain some sort of separateness, then it is an act of rejection or rebellion against the established language and all the culture and community that goes with it. If you want to be a part of a community, it is vital that you learn their language well and speak it well and use it in anyone's presence. To not do so is to say that you do not want to be a part of them. How would anyone react to that? So while the kind of language you speak does not matter, everyone speaking the same language does matter. Your willingness and desire to communicate demonstrates your wanting to be part of the gang and be accepted. A resistance to communicate promotes a barrier.
How about dress? Well, do you want to look like the rest of the people, showing that you identify with them? Armies do, athletic teams do, many companies such as fast food require standard dress or uniforms. Communities also have silent dress codes as any culture does. When one refuses to dress like the rest, it is seen as rebellion or rejection. If immigrants come in and don't want to dress like you, they probably do not identify with you and your culture. They may not mean it as an insult but it could be taken that way.
Again, why do they want to live beside you? Because they like you? No. They do it because they want your jobs and your lifestyle, but they don't want you or your culture. Governments don't like to acknowledge this in their campaign for diversity but if you give it some thought, if people want to live beside you, wouldn't you want them to like you and be a part of your community? If they do not want to embrace the community, then how do they expect people to feel? There will be distance and tension. How could there not be? So looking like the native can be important if you want to be part of the community. If you do not want to be a part of the community, you may be seen as a free loader and a leech.
What type of dress is not important. It can be any type. The key is in conformity, union, solidarity. You want to be part of the crowd. In our world today, we have no sense of identity reinforced by a specific kind of clothing or style. We live in a world of fashion promoted by the media. We are always changing our look and are never satisfied with it very long. We go along with those who want us to change all the time so they can make money selling us the latest fashion. And in the process, they prevent any sort of identity from forming. Pretty clever, isn't it? You pay money to destroy yourselves. Previous cultures of the past had a distinctive style of dress. It identified them and preserved them. When they ceased to look different, they soon lost their identity and were absorbed by the dominating culture.
The tragedy of Christianity as a whole is that they have not maintained or forged any sort of dress or identity. They went along with the flow of the culture and the dictates of fashion and so they are absorbed into the cosmopolitan sea of the masses. They have no sense of common identity. They need to forge some as soon as possible. But there was a time when there was a sense of proper dress. But we joined in the cultural rebellion of the 1960's and lost what we had. It is not likely that we will get it back unless we make a conscious choice to do so.
I do take my hat off to the Mormons to some degree for this, as well as the Amish. When you go into Salt Lake City, there is a distinct sort of clothing you will find and many that you will not. They have a sense of what is proper attire and what is not. Mormons have a culture. Whether this is true for Mormons outside of Utah, I do not know. But they certainly have a distinct dress when they attend church. This is commendable. The Amish of course, have a very distinct dress. And actually, there is some color, particularly among the females. Whether flashy or not, the Amish have maintained a sense of identity. Same goes for the Hutterites. There is much to admire about these intelligent groups.
I won't even address food for that just seems too silly. Honestly, who cares what you eat. We all eat as individuals as tastes vary quite a bit, even within a family, and do not affect community at all. And music could be somewhat the same. Certainly, there are songs and styles among cultures. But musical tastes vary too much between people of the same background. But there do tend to be songs that are a part of a particular culture. But they are not essential to community unless the group wants to sing them together. Churches have their own traditional songs in which everyone is expected to join in. those are in special settings, though. Within that context, you would want to join in if you want to be a part of the group. But in personal tastes at home, who cares. All music should be enjoyed and this is where diversity is a positive thing, as I see it. As long as the lyrics are decent.
When communities formed around a mill, everyone was united by working at the same place. When a community revolved around farm life, everyone had a common sense of unity in their work. But work is not necessarily essential. But it definitely does help and can increase what people have in common. The bonds are just that much deeper and similar. Policemen and firemen tend to have a deep bond for each other. Which brings us to the next point.
Typically, shared events of great happiness or great struggle or great sorrow can bond people together. When you go through something horrific, and support and help each other get through it, great and powerful bonds can form. The most common place where people of different races often form deep and lasting bonds is on the battlefield. On the battlefield, you have a common enemy and you will only survive with the help of each other. It becomes clear there, like it will no where else, that we all really need each other. Those type of bonds are often among the strongest and best. They clear up thinking better than anything else. The little picky trivial stuff is not important there. Priorities become obvious. That is something we lack in the day to day world.
You will also see people who went through great times together form close bonds that will often last a life time. People who have gone through common experiences, such as both coming from abusive circumstances of the same type or something like that, will have something in common and easily form a bond with each other. People who came over on the Mayflower no doubt formed a close community as they endured a tough first year together at Plymouth Rock and they had already shared a religious community with each other before coming over. To live in community and freedom is why they came over in the first place. As more of their kind came over, Massachusetts kind of gained an identity as a Puritan state. But it was eventually lost.
Some see religion as the basis of a community. And it certainly can be. When people share a common religion, there is little to divide them, unless some doctrinal disputes arise. But if they are united in their views and values, this can be one of the strongest forces of unity a community can have. But it will not be as strong if they are a community, only in spirit and not because they all live in the same area. But don't underestimate the power and value of a spiritual community. It can be exceedingly strong if they avoid the petty trivial stuff and stick to the basics.
But with all the things that can give community a strong solid basis, there is nothing that can enable this more than a people with something in common who also live together. To me, it is being physically close to each other so that they can administer to each other and draw strength from each other and maintain that sense of identity better than to live with each other. If you love each other, you should want to live with each other. If you don't care about living with each other, then there is no real bond of affection there.
I think that is why so many groups and cults get started. They see the need of community and want to be a part of each other's lives. They want to be with each other more than with anyone else. Their only problem is that they allow one person too much control. That is the danger. As long as the control is shared by the whole community, it should be an excellent way to live. There is strength and security in numbers. Those who fear your strength and solidarity prefer to keep you isolated and divided.
But the danger as I see it is that as Jesus said, a kingdom divided against it self will not stand. Abraham Lincoln was said to have noted that the United States was so rich in resources and powerful that it could never be defeated from the outside. The defeat would have to come from within. And so it may. Rome was the same. She was not invaded from the outside until she first crumbled from within. But as we shred any sort of unity and solidarity in our desire to embrace diversity, we risk weakening ourselves to the point of collapse and chaos. We should not laugh and think this not possible. It happened to Rome and every other great empire of the ages, it can and will happen to us, too.
What is the ultimate community? It would be one where we share
similar work, values, culture, religion, the works. A rural farming
community, of which we used to have a lot of, were usually like that.
Mill towns might sometimes have had that. But our way of life has
changed so drastically, that I don't think it would be possible now
without the help and cooperation of government and big business.
Don't hold you breath waiting for that. They don't like solid united
communities. They like diversity. There are other words for that,
though, like disintegration, division, chaos. Diversity is a nice and
kind word but not an accurate one.
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While not nearly as good, healthy, and desirable from a Christian standpoint, virtual or spiritual communities may be the best alternative available to those who seek others with similar goals and lifestyles. The articles I referred to in the Portland papers discussed the "common interest" communities. They may be athletic or sports clubs and teams, computer users, special interests and hobbies, church groups, workplace, or whatever. But like me, there were those, including sociologists, who expressed that these were no substitute for what we once had in real physical communities. Work places are said to offer some or all of the socializing that some people may require.
It is a sad fact of life that many people's lives revolve almost exclusively around their job. They eat, drink, and sleep their job or business. Money is everything. It's the meaning and purpose of their lives. I don't think they have ever really thought about it to be honest. They don't even know there is an alternative. So given that they spend most of their time doing business, their colleagues become their community. Even in more humble work places, the people they are most familiar with and tend to do things with will often be their work mates. Many people find love and get married to work mates. But it still does noting to improve our home situation. We are still isolated and marooned in our neighborhoods. We can't depend on our neighbors as we used to.
But as Christians, we have little alternative. We must take what we can get. The only thing I can add is that while Christians did have communities when they first settled over here in America, and might have retained them till sometime in the 20th century, it did not start out like that. Christians were a rare persecuted breed when they were first converted by the Apostles throughout the Roman empire, a large part of which became Europe. Christians were scattered throughout the empire and never had a physical community for the most part. So they met together often to encourage and brace each other as the scripture I quoted earlier recommended. It applies as much today as it did then. We need to seek each other out and solidify and unite. Can you imagine God wanting otherwise?
Not only do we need to meet on a spiritual level in churches, but maybe other activities as well. Social activities, and the like. And we need to be sure to make every one feel welcomed and warm. Cliques are downright evil. Cliques are why we have school shootings and gang wars. They are divisive, exclusionist, and destructive to a Christian body. They certainly violate God's laws since He requires that we love all His servants, our fellow kinsmen, and not just some. God is not partial and neither should we be.
Part of every teenager's struggle is to fit in at school and be
accepted by their peers. Some will do nearly anything to fit in.
Wanting to fit in and belong is a powerful urge that God gave to us.
But we need to be careful that we don't compromise in trying to fit
in. Also, we need to understand how important it is to make sure that
everyone feels wanted and accepted, in a word, comfortable. I have
seen plenty of cliques, even in churches, and that is pretty
Have Done It
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Some groups of Christians have been living in communities for years if not centuries. One example that comes quickly to mind are the Hutterites. I believe it was a Jacob Hutter who founded the group. They live in a very strict community, a commune, to be specific. They try to follow the pattern of the first century church in Jerusalem where all the Christians sold their things and lived in common with each other. There is nothing wrong with this if you were to choose it but neither is there any requirement to do so. God did not set up or instruct Israel to live this way. God ordained that each man should have his own land and be autonomous. That would seem to be the best way and the way we will return to when God's kingdom takes over the earth.
Hutterites seem to feel that it is essential that they live in community. This is based on how the first century Christian community in Jerusalem lived. But it is not essential and nor is it an easy thing to accomplish. Much to their credit, they seem to manage it quite well. The danger is in accounting for the money and resources and how they are to be controlled. In addition, some could become very powerful influences and dominate the other members excessively. The Hutterites would seem to have perfected a very good healthy balance. They are all farmers and have been doing this for at least 400 years, going back to when they lived in Europe. I doubt it would have lasted that long had they not done something right. They are certainly to be admired for their way of life. But again, it is not a requirement that any Christian live that way except by choice and personal desire.
Then you have the Bruderhof. Another group who lives in communes and advocates it as the only Christian way. It is not, but they are admirable just the same. Unlike the Hutterites or Amish, the Bruderhof are serious about spreading the gospel to others. They make use of the internet and book publishing to spread the word. This is most admirable and that the others do not concern themselves with this is a disappointment. If I had a fault to find, it would be their political involvement as I see it, it advertising in their own way, for political reform. If you don't want the government meddling with you, don't meddle with the government. But they aren't really what you could call activists, either, so its not a big deal. But the writings of their founder are worth a read.
The Amish are another commendable group. For whatever their faults or weaknesses, I admire and respect them because long before the 17th century and the industrial revolution got out of hand, they recognized the extreme importance and value of community and how the changing world of that time was threatening it. They got off that train and stuck to a simple way of life. They are not anti-technology as much as they are very slow and cautious to accept new technology, recognizing that it could severely and negatively impact their sense of community. Few have ever seen or recognized that and resisted as the Amish had. To the Amish, being together in a community was more important that anything else. It would be impossible for me to not respect and admire such a stance. What better way to claim that they love each other than to go to the lengths they have to preserve their community. That is love.
But with shrinking availability of land, the Amish have been forced to find new ways to adapt to making a living and still keeping somewhat of a sense of community. Their spiritual predecessors, the Mennonites, from whom the Amish came from, are often the ones they seek out and work with in adopting trades or seeking employment. I have also heard that the Amish can be rather cold and distant from the "English," as they call us outsiders. They should reach out to people rather than reject them. But for whatever faults they may or may not have, I will always have a tender spot in my heart for them. They stand out in their faith. They are monuments of love of brother and community.
In many parts of the country, Housing developments are being formed that give rise to those who want a sense of community. They are selective about who they sell to so as to find the right type of buyer who wants this kind of lifestyle and interaction. This is seen as acceptable as far as I have been able to discern. I also think it is a good idea. Yet I do recall about 30 or 40 years ago when we vehemently objected to people refusing to sell to people of other races. While you can not discriminate against buyers based on race, I guess you can discriminate based on values. But these people are among those who want to recreate the community in its very ultimate sense. To them I tip my hat if I had one. If it becomes too popular, I see the government as stepping in and stopping it, especially if immigrants or ethnic races are rejected from such communities. But for now, it is legal.
But as I see it, we have a right to move in with who we want and we have a right to sell to who we want or not sell at all. This in one of those ways in which government worked hard to destroy any sense of community as far as I can tell. Even narrow minded people have a right to live as a community. The Constitution does not force people to be open minded or liberal, last I knew. But our government might have something to say about that. Or at least the Supreme Court.
Christians might get the idea that if they bought a significant piece of land in a cooperative effort, and developed it for their congregation members to move into if they liked, that might be a great idea. But the danger comes when someone might decide that the ideas they formerly embraced were wrong. Or maybe they decided that they no longer wanted to live by God's rules. Then what? To me, communities have always had rebels and people who were the scourge of the town, outcasts. So it would be nothing that we have not always had. But some might want the rebel expelled. This would probably be going too far by law and might not be the best approach anyway. Some might have a very narrow intolerant body of doctrines that don't give a Christian much room. The best I can say is that you need to put everything in writing as to rules, get it legalized, and don't leave it in the hands of any one individual. Form it to be controlled by all.
It is a good idea but there are plenty of pitfalls. Keep in mind that communities are a double edged sword. They can be heaven and they can be hell, if you suddenly don't fit in. While many loved the old small towns, many despised them, too. Make sure that the people you want to be with are people you really like in a big way. If you go along with them begrudgingly, you may end up regretting it when you go too far and fall out of favor. I am not trying to discourage such a thing in anyway. But Satan has had his influence on all of us for a long time and even Christians to some degree, do not know quite how to live and get along any more. Satan and his world have done a marvelous job of making us all dysfunctional to some degree.
So when you go into such an arrangement, if you do, go in expecting the worst. People are people and there can be lots of friction in communities just as there are in families. But then again, you have probably already experienced that in a church anyway and living with your brothers, however annoying, has to be better than living with total strangers. Christians are not perfect and never have been. If you take that understanding with you, you will do much better.
But also keep in mind the fine example of the Jews who enjoy a
great sense of community, even though they may not be in the same
neighborhood. They have demonstrated that good community can be had
if you really want it and make an effort to it. Part of what plagues
many Christians is their many divisions and sects. And as far as I
can tell, there is not any real need for it. So many of them believe
so much alike, I can see no real difference. They should be more
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Cities, especially strange ones you do not live in, give us a complete sense of anonymity. Though our modern day heavy surveillance has diminished that anonymity to some degree, it still is there. It was there even more in past times. With no one knowing who you are or what your doing or even caring what your doing, it increased dramatically, the sense of freedom and temptation. One could feel that they could do anything and no one will care or bother them. To some degree, even a city where you do live provides a similar atmosphere. There are so many people squeezed into so small an area that you could not possibly know all the people around you. It creates an abnormal circumstance where you are close to people but do not know or care about them. Too many people in too small an area is not healthy for good living.
We learn to become desensitized to people around us. We learn to become insensitive to their fights or whatever. It is not our business we reason. To a limited degree, that is true. But when you ignore beatings, rapes, and murder; that is too far. And yet it is a common reaction in cities. It came as a shock and surprise in the small city of Portland, Maine around maybe 1999 or 2000 when a woman was grabbed in broad daylight in the morning, about 7 or 8 AM and dragged through a busy intersection and no one did a thing. She was taken to some bushes near the highway there and raped. No one was upset or concerned that she was obviously being dragged and not so willingly, either. She wanted help but got none. But the whole city was quite upset afterwards. We had always imagined that we were not like New York City. But we were wrong.
No one would have believe that this could happen in Portland, Maine, a city of about 65,000. But it could hardly not happen. Our attitudes are that what someone does is none of our business. We are uncomfortable with people yelling, arguing, and the like. No matter what we do, we kind of feel like we are intruding upon others by being so close all the time. We turn off and tune out. In some ways we mean well. We respect people's rights to a little bit of privacy and grant it by sort of ignoring them. But it comes with great consequence. Before you know it, we just completely shut off ourselves from others. It is a natural reaction to the unhealthy and unnatural dense concentrations of people. We need to be further spread out, less densely populated, so that we can become familiar with all the people around us.
Take another example. We have sidewalks still remaining on some streets from the "good old days." But people don't use them today. Why? Because they feel like they are too close to houses and intruding upon people's privacy. The city of Portland has been too slow and stupid to grasp this. They imagine that once sidewalks have been restored, everything will be back to normal. They are most unfamiliar with the psychology of the people they rule over and why the people behave as they do. Now, where there are no houses, sidewalks are used. There is no one to intrude upon and no privacy to violate. The leaders are likely unaware of this being the case. As usual, they have no clue. What a surprise, huh?
In previous times, we knew everyone we lived near and so felt at
home, comfortable, and welcomed by each other so walking on
sidewalks, close to homes was seen and felt differently. Closeness
and friendliness were desired. But not anymore.
What Shall We
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Cities are destructive to human relations. There is not way around it. But solving the problem will take a good deal more than we as Christians can likely solve. We might form a few communities where we are surrounded by each other. But most will likely have to wait on God to straighten the earth out. For one, we may move into a nice area where those around us are of our own. Then we get laid off and are forced to sell or move. We may not be able to afford it to begin with. Or we may end up wanting to move as the group heads off in a bad direction. It can happen just as it did in the Bible. There are plenty of pitfalls. We would love to have the 1950's back. But I want to point out that they were an anomaly, are freak occurrence. Never before or after did the USA ever have so much prosperity and what went with it with community and the like. There were a few other times in the history of the USA when we might have had nice community atmospheres but there again, the USA was somewhat of an anomaly as well. It was a new land, a land sparely inhabited by Native Americans and provided a unique limited time circumstance for colonies of Christians to settle together. It was not to last.
So we must wait on God to create the paradise that we would like to live in. He can and will do it as His kingdom takes back control of the earth. Till that time, we must grin and bear the destruction that Satan and his system want to bring upon the human race. They do not want anything good for it. They intend harm so as to be able to enslave and control us against our will. Only God can rescue us from such a miserable fate.
So the wisest course that I can discern for Christians is to
gather together in groups and enjoy each others company and encourage
and support each other as "Satan" presses harder against us to try to
get us to forsake the ways of God. Knowing that the system does not
want good strong communities, we would be foolish to try to resist
the system and form physical communities. If you can form one without
much of a problem, do it. You might be richly blessed if you are in
with good people. But the ultimate solution rests with God and Him
alone. Draw as close as you can to each other, spiritually and
socially, and hold on tight. Its going to get real interesting real
What I Am
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It could sound like I am advocating some sort of ecumenical movement. I am not. My views are seriously out of harmony with the mainstream. I don't believe in fighting wars for starters. Most so called Christians do not hesitate to fight wars. So I would have nothing in common with them. The issue of war is something that I would allow to separate me from other faiths. On the other hand, doctrines like the trinity or hell are not seen by me as essential, salvation-determining doctrines even though I don't agree with them. But there are many who subscribe to the trinity, hell, and war and yet are not united. This I do not understand. But I hope to see many war hating faiths draw near and accept more variance in what I see as non-essential doctrines. At present, many would appear to see the trinity as a salvation essential doctrine. I hope that changes.
I would like to see many faiths more carefully consider what is
truly essential and what is not by considering why it is that they
are so essential. Why is it that they must be agreed upon by all? If
they can not come up with a truly convincing reason, then maybe they
need to change so that more Christians can be united and encourage
each other and build up God's house.
Rights vs. Group Rights
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God called His creation in the garden of Eden, Man. Adam was "a" man. And he was the "species" man. Eve, woman, was also of the species man. The human race is collectively referred to by God as man. Man was intended to be social and live in groups of families in communities. It is my belief that he was never intended to live in isolated families. The mere fact that we need to breed makes it essential that we live in numbers so that there are marital prospects for maturing members who come of age. We were meant to live in groups and God set up rules that governed us in groups. The rules do not always favor the individual over the group. Often, the group comes before the individual. That is why Paul urged us to think, not of ourselves, but of our brothers and how our actions might affect them. I refer to the discussion in 1 Corinthians 10, starting in verse 23.
We have rights as individuals in the Bible. But not to where we can do whatever we want without concern for how it might affect others. When living under God's law, one always has to consider how their actions might impact others. For instance, I might like to run around naked. Being naked is not a crime in the Bible. But loose conduct is counseled against. Nudity could be considered loose conduct. It may not be a sin in and of itself, but it might induce some to sin. So for the benefit of all, I would keep myself covered up in situations where it might be perfectly reasonable to be nude, such as when swimming in a pool or at the lake or beach, if such a place allowed such a thing, legally.
Or maybe I like to drink quite frequently and get feeling pretty good. But some can not handle alcohol and crowds very well and might get our of hand. For the sake of others, I might control how often and how much so as not to endanger others. Maybe I am just rich and could afford to drive a status symbol car. But how would it affect my brothers? Might they be induced to give too much attention to earning enough so they could do the same? Its possible. So for the sake of others, I might refrain from that which I could easily afford.
What most comes to my mind is cutting lose and looking with others or being really uninhibited in a crowd. I might be able to handle it without getting out of control. King David was said to rejoice when the Ark of God was brought back to Israel. He was said to rejoice and celebrate with all his power or heart. That's not a bad thing, that's a good thing. But his wife Michal, thought he behaved essentially, like an idiot and made a fool with himself. The context could make a big difference. But many people today, need no help in cutting loose. It could be that they might tend to go too far. So one might have to watch themselves, depending on the crowd. With older more mature and well behaved Christians in company, you might be quite safe as the setting is chaperoned, so to speak. But if the crowd was quite young and no older ones around, caution and more control might be in order as they might have a greater tendency to get our of control.
Whatever it is we do, we can not be selfish and only give attention to what we want to do and what our individual rights are. We do not have a right to do whatever we want. There are limits beyond God's law. There is love's law, which is not as clearly spelled out as the law of Moses, for instance. There are many things we actually could do without breaking God's laws but which would likely impact our brothers in a negative way. Paul makes it clear that idols are nothing and we all know it. He admits that we could eat meat sacrificed to an idol and it would mean nothing. But, he say, we have to be aware that others may not believe as we do and may think an idol to actually be something. So we have to give attention to that and avoid meat sacrificed to idols if it is made known that it is in sacrifice to an idol.
So it is most necessary that we limit our own rights to some degree, in consideration of our brothers. Yes, we will have to sacrifice some of our own individual rights in favor of the group, the community, as a whole. There are limits, of course. Paul talks about this in Romans 14. I discuss these issues much deeper in other articles I mention at the end of this article. But in Romans, Paul makes it clear that Christians progress at varying degrees and that some have much more experience, knowledge, and maturity, then others, than perhaps a newly converted person. And as a result, the mature person may do some things that the new person may not see as right, such as eating meat having originally been sacrificed to an idol and then later sold in a market.
Though Paul recommends that it would be better to never eat meat than to stumble a new one, that is not his ultimate counsel on the matter. What he recommends the most is that neither should judge the other on what they may do when it is not clear as to why they do it. There are issues that can be seen in more than one way. We need to respect how those in the same faith could see the matter differently and yet still both be good in God's eyes. God takes into consideration that one might be new and the other more insightful and mature.
God knows we progress at individual, unique, and separate paces. God leads us individually and we are to follow him individually. Even if everyone of our brothers deserted God, it would be our individual responsibility to continue to follow God even when everyone else had stopped. We are not to judge based on what our brothers think. We are to think for ourselves and use our own conscience and not that of our brothers and peers. So while we always consider our brothers, we still need to be guided individually by our own minds. In doing so, we need to be considerate of our own conduct's effects on others. But we want to be slow to judge them.
The real danger I see is that some who have what I call really advanced insight into Christian freedom, could behave in ways that might cause others to think they were sinners and hedonists, ones who pursue nothing but pleasure or the avoidance of pain. How do we balance our so called individual rights without becoming ridiculously restrictive of ourselves. Well, that has to be a personal judgement call. What is reasonable and what is not? That is always a difficult line to walk.
What I want to emphasize is that we need to balance the rights of the individual with those of the community of brothers in the faith and in the world, too. The USA tends to emphasize individual rights. But that is not the Bible's emphasis!
I will step off into some speculation here. God's law forbids adultery. Some could and have reasoned that true love is not jealous in the extreme sense and have reasoned that selfishness is not appropriate, either. And they are correct. So they take it yet another step and reason that if they are not jealous and do not object to seeing their mates have pleasure, with them or with others, and since sharing with people they love and care about is good, then why should swapping marital partners be a good thing that does not violate God's principles, if not laws.
Well, here is my thinking. While some couples may be quite capable of not being jealous of each other and extending love to other couples and not have it destroy their own marriage and keep in balanced and in control, it is not likely that all can or will do that. Then there are also issues of disease, pregnancies by someone other than your partner, and other issues, too. It is by no means just a single issue. But this is one of those things that I think God's law prohibits for a number of reasons. It is not just the welfare of the individual couple that is at stake. It is the welfare of the entire community that could be impacted in a very dangerous way.
As I see it, sexual attraction is a very powerful force that can
easily get out of hand since it is a physiological and deeply
emotional, primal force in which we lose control while in its grips.
When we are out of control and intoxicated by desire, we are in no
state to be rational and in control. Who we get out of control with
and where is very important. These forces have to be carefully
controlled or they can rip a community to shreds, regardless of how
good or pure the intentions. God knows and understands these forces
much better than we do and no doubt formed the rules, with the
community in mind. Most all of God's rules, I believe, if you examine
them carefully, show a keen interest and concern for protecting and
preserving a healthy solid strong thriving community.
Against the Community
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Its not what you think. What I mean is that we want to be careful about rebelling against the community and its sensibilities and values, such as the way we dress or other types of behavior. It is true that communities can be quite narrow minded and conservative. That has been the case in the USA in our past. But even an open minded liberal Christian communities need to enforce some limits. Rebellion in general is not something the Bible encourages unless it is rebellion against wickedness and corruption. But in our past, especially during the 1950's and more particularly, the 1960's, we underwent some extraordinary, rather revolutionary changes in which we threw out many values and roles. Clothing, roles, behavior, morals, attitudes and much more, was changed.
Now there is little question but that there was plenty that needed changing in our ridiculously prudish and unrealistic attitudes of the time, but there was also plenty that was good and wholesome and we threw all that out, too. And it was wrong and destructive to the community spirit that had been in existence in the 1950's. Many may not recognize the 1950's as a time of great change and rebellion but I beg to differ. It was just much more subtle at first and so was not recognized until it really got out of hand in the 1960's. The seeds of the 60's were clearly sown in the 50's. There is no doubt in my mind about that.
In the 50's, there were more clearly defined and distinct roles and behavior for men and women, boys and girls, as is in the Bible. We threw it out. Dating without adult supervision was something that really got its start in the 50's. Cars became a common place possession that every family had at least one of. Teens were then allowed to use them and it gave them nice shelter and privacy. That is where the old conception in the back seat of a Chevy got its real start. All the former rules for teens were relaxed. Discipline was not maintained. Values were not passed on. Explanations were never given. An entire new generation was let down and allowed to grow without receiving much from the previous generation. Materialism swept across America and the prosperity made us lose our sense and let down our guard. It was all so easy and we just let ourselves and our kids drift.
We shed and we shredded our communities and values. We let is all go to hell. We let the new TV shape and mold our kids. We allowed movies and Hollywood have their way with our kids. We just coasted along like everything would take care of it self. Possibly we were just numbed by WWII. Who knows. But Christians were really asleep at the wheel. There can be no other explanation. We did not stop the rebellion when we should have.
Looking back now, I see why some in the 60's did sort of fight to preserve their values and way of life and reject the hippies and their insane rejection of everything. Rejection of war was good. But the rebellion of sex, drugs, work ethic, clothing, and many other things was clearly wrong so the old squares were right about much of what they found objectionable. They were trying to preserve their way of life and much of it was worth preserving and protecting. But liberal elements throughout the country portrayed the conservative element as narrow-minded, out of touch, square, etc. There was a great character assassination of the more sensible and conservative side.
Things like free speech, free thought, individual rights and the like were emphasized, especially so in universities and the media. The free speech was intended to pollute our language with filth, free thought to legitimize what was formerly scandalous by at least publicizing it taking place all the time among the stars so as to make us think it was all perfectly normal and common, when among the common people, it was not. Individual rights emphasized the if it feels good, do it, and I have a right to do what I see as right, to hell with the rest of you. It was rebellion of everything on a grand scale. And our sense of values that united us as communities died. We lost our values and anything that might keep us united in vision and values. That was all shred so that we had nothing in common anymore. The future generations were completely severed from the previous ones. Don't trust anyone over 30 was the slogan.
Its kind of ironic that some who promoted that slogan later became disgusted with later young generations and later exclaimed, don't trust anyone under 30. Abby Hoffman comes to mind. Abby no doubt meant well his time. But he failed to see what the ultimate consequences of his rebellion would be, as was likely the case with a good number of those who rebelled. We went from one extreme to the other, first having too strict a sense of decency and modesty to having none at all. The pendulum always seems to swing to extremes.
So now we have nothing left over from the good old days. They were crucified!. Impaled on Main Street, USA, while our Lord was run out of town or perhaps crucified again along with the good old day and the good old ways. And there is no bringing them back. The genie is out of the bottle. I know fundamentalists do not want to accept that but its true. We can and are responsible for healing and bringing back the Christians community but the larger physical community has gone the way of the dinosaur. Say a prayer for it and say goodbye to it. We now must look within the congregation for strength and courage until God's son shall return to set straight all matters and bring us back to what we should be. We can't change or heal the world. God has ordained that it must die and be put out of its misery. We can only change or preserve our selves and our brothers.
We must also love our neighbors and show kindness to them. But many of them may reject it and not want it. Offer it anyway and let them cast it aside if they like. At least it can't be said you did not try.
So part of loving our neighbor is the realization that we need to watch out for that community, whether a physical one or a virtual one such as a church might be. That should cover most of my concerns about community in the Bible and under God. Be sure to check out the Related Articles.
Christian Behaviors Page
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