Monday, March 30, 2015
Real vs. Virtual Community
Random musings from this morning...
We have within us some sense that there is an ideal community and we're constantly measuring our own community (or lack thereof) against this sense of what a community should be.
The sociologists have a term for this social dichotomy: gemeinschaft vs. gesellschaft. The idea is that there is an ideal gemeinschaft (intimate community such as a family) and then there is gesellschaft (virtual community such as a nation). There are, in reality, very few examples of true gemeinschaft but they include such groups as the Amish community, religious kibbutzim (perhaps even secular kibbutzim), the Hasidic community, etc.
Church pastors (and even Messianic leaders) are constantly trying to manufacture gemeinschaft. But it's difficult to think of a congregation as a community when you only see them once a week (or perhaps several times). You can make it feel like a community when you utilize small groups, after service community meals, etc. But ultimately these attempts result in a virtual community. We don't really need our church or synagogue. We can leave and go to another one. It's relatively painless. It's not like you're walking out on family.
But in a gemeinschaft no one considers leaving. To leave is to die a spiritual (and perhaps physical death) death. The true gemeinschaft is not a city type of "community" but rather a rural community. It is not high tech but rather simple--even at the cost of inefficiency. It is agrarian. It is old-fashioned...
Ah, well, I've got to run. Such is my modern life.
Posted by Peter at 5:33 AM