to home page
 What's New   Home   E-Mail   Page Bottom   Faithful Moderates       • Home Page  • Whats New  • Site Map  • Web Links  • Core Values  • Social Justice Strategy  • Community • One  • Kindness  • Faith & Reason  • New  • Jon  • Rumi 

Friendship, Family and Community

Scott Peck (author of The Road Less Travelled) wrote a book called "The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace" where he said that communities grow through four stages:

  1. Peck says the first stage is characterized by extreme pleasantness and conflict-avoidance and he calls it "Pseudocommunity".
  2. The second stage is "Chaos" which centers around well-intentioned but misguided attempts to heal and convert, the underlying motive being making everyone "normal" which is not the same as experiencing "love".
  3. The third stage is "Emptiness" where people try to reduce expectations and preconceptions; prejudices; ideologies; solutions; the need to heal, convert, fix or solve; and the need to control.
  4. In the fourth stage, "Community", people have learned not to convert or heal or hide, but to listen, accept differences, and rejoice in each other. Then it is necessary to take on the task of maintenance which requires it to fall back into chaos or even pseudocommunity to keep it healthy and growing.
Of course, our real world is more complicated than his illustration. All this is going on at the same time among us. But we are seeing some vigorous struggles that are an essential part of growth, and I do hear many people say change will be good. Here are some thoughts about what community is.


  1. We always greeted each other with benificence and openness and often with expectation of joy.
  2. When we run acroppers of each other, we quickly sensed it and returned to good sense and openness.
  3. We accepted vulnerability in ourselves and in others and didn't need to fear it.
  4. Superficial communication (platitudes) were only rarely needed.
  5. Our words carried Love on their wings (or at least emotionally neutral information which is often bouyed by Love).
  6. Poverty were seen for what it can give us, maybe not to be sought, but not to be feared either.
  7. Disputes were resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation.
  8. Love and trust left little room for fear and hatred.
  9. We adapted well, found acceptance working in us, and aged gracefully.
When we find this in friendship, we are very lucky indeed. If this were true in our family, we'd have the family we hope for. If it were true in our community, we'd have a very, very special community. (Some would say we were living in a cult. (Of course, we could agree thinking of the "traditional" meaning of the word "cult".))

If we'd like, we can further suppose,

  1. We had no hesitation about doing away with poverty, hunger and homelessness, and we made it unnecessary for anyone to be hungry or homeless.
  2. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice were replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.
  3. Peace with justice prevailed over war and military conflict.
If this were true in the dominant culture, we'd have found a place in The Beloved Community as Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned it (or as Rabbi Michael Lerner is seeking it in the Network of Spiritual Progressives. Here are some readings that helped these thoughts come together.

Forgiveness 7/20/08Rev. Debbie SelfSt. Gregory's E.C.
Sri Chinmoy, Athletic Spiritual Leader, Dies at 7610/13/07Corey KilgannonNYT
Save the Gnostics10/ 6/07Nathaniel DeutschNYT
Send In the Clowns10/ 6/07Bob HerbertNYT
'T-Byrd' and The Word: It's been a big year for Dr. Terriel Byrd 7/27/07Paul LomartirePBP
Joseph's House 9/ 0/06Patricia WudelJoseph's House
12-Step as Coded Gospel 6/ 3/06Richard Rohr 
Becoming the Authentic Church, by Gordon Cosby 4/29/06Gordon Cosby 
Building Church 0/ 0/06Carl House 
Stories Behind Homelessness 0/ 0/06Donna Watson Lawson 
Network of Spiritual Progressives 0/ 0/06  
Church work transforms Adams-Morgan section of Washington, D.C 4/11/01Paul WilkesChristian Century
Stages Of Community Making 0/ 0/98Scott Peck 
Dorothy Day on love... 0/ 0/80  
Marks of the Liberating Community 0/ 0/76Elizabeth O'Connor 
Faithful Friendship 0/ 0/68Dorothy Devers 
The Beloved Community 7/13/66Dr. Martin Luther KingThe King Center
Letter From Birmingham Jail 4/16/63Dr. Martin Luther King 
Blazing New Paths, Elizabeth O'Connor 0/ 0/63Elizabeth O'Connor 

• Home Page  • Whats New  • Site Map  • Web Links  • Core Values  • Social Justice Strategy  • Community • One  • Kindness  • Faith & Reason  • New  • Jon  • Rumi 

 What's New   Home   E-Mail   Page Top