Tuesday, October 28, 2014
One thing community often lacks
Have you ever noticed that you are drawn to befriend certain people? That they seem to have some sort of magnetism to them that just beckons you in? Even people with whom you have relatively little in common?
I have a theory as to why that is the case, and I'll first let someone say it properly:
“That is why those pathetic people who simply 'want friends' can never make any. The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question "Do you see the same truth?" would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend," no Friendship can arise - though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
That last sentence hits specifically on something I've been mulling over for a while. "Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers."
It's strange to think that our ability or inability to make close connection may actually have very little to do with our likability or personality or attractiveness. We tend to think naturally that if we are agreeable, or nice, or likable, then we will have people that want to spend time with us, that want to be our friend.
But Lewis says something here very differently about friendship and community. He says that it must not be about friendship or community, but rather about something else entirely.
Friends must walk a road together, and that road cannot be only a "let's be friends" sort of road. A true community must have things to share, things to discuss, things to dream about, and not merely just people to gather.
This hits squarely at the way many churches and christian organization tend to talk about community. "Let's be a community!" they say from the pulpit or stage. It is stated both explicitly and implicitly. You, Christian, should be wanting to make friends. You should be seeking to make community.
But I say let's flank this sort of appeal.
Let's make our natural relationships be about something greater than ourselves. Instead of just trying to make friends, let's try and make our lives matter. Let's find a purpose and dream of God, align ourselves with it, and then find like-minded people that fan into flame what God has already begun in you.
And then the real friendship will develop. People will be magnetized to you, rather than the other way around. You will be the one that draws friends, because you are the one living for something greater and grander and more majestic.
And let's put an end to summoning our students or parishioners or churches to community. Let's summon them to an all-out life pledge in service to the King. Once they align themselves with His mission, the community will come.