The Community vs. The Church: Can Community exists within the Church?
Why is it critical for the churches to engage in assisting our community to move to the other side of the Jordan? In other words why is it important to blow the trumpet to Zion? Why is it important to assist each other? My answer is in a three worded Zulu proverb. “Unmuntu Ngumuntu Ngabuntu- Zulu proverb which literally means that a person is a person through other persons; a person’s humanity can only be meaningfully expressed through relationships with other human beings.
An individual’s humanity cannot be fully capacitated, highly developed or flourishing in the absence of community or an organic network of interdependencies involving mutually respectful, harmonious and supportive interrelationships with other human beings. This proverb is representative of the profound wisdom and underlying communal values of traditional African cultures. This perspective stresses the importance of developing balanced, wholesome relationships among families and communities.”
This proverb for me surmises the dilemmas in my context as well as the dilemmas in the some churches. For me I would say the people are blowing the trumpet for help, but Zion is asleep. Or Zion misinterprets their role or reaction for coming to the aid. Or is Zion locked in the four walls of the church and will not even conceive of coming out.
It’s safe, familiar, and very satisfying. When you become this comfortable you miss the mutuality of the having shared roles and shared power between the church and the community. You will not understand the value of each party or person. The problem I identified in my context is the inhibited ability to truly express the emotions and issues therefore suppressing them to no avail.
The issues of expression in the community have lead to things such as an uprising of mental illnesses, depression, physical illnesses, autism, and debilitating issues in both mother, children, and the family unit. There also seems to be a lack of identity enrichment. There seems to be no cultural connection. So in order to literally kill two birds with one stone, I want to utilize the arts as way of building a bridge for community, communication, expression, empowerment, identity, and healing. Music and drama are excellent ways of expression as well as intertwining them with cognitive therapy.
You are literally giving them in cognitive therapy ways of breathing to overcome emotion. It reminds me of Ezekiel and the dry bones and breathing on them the breath of life. So in cognitive therapy intertwined with Pastoral Care you are literally trying to calm yourself to get clear perspective or momentary escape. Also in creating imagery that can take one from of darkness to a place of peace.
Also using drama to create a safe environment to be, express, listen, and work through. The Church needs the community because it is the context by which they live. It is the schools, the crime, the promise, the setbacks, the populace. The community needs the church as well, they both can create great platforms for one another to express and for change to occur.
They community is often the silence voice or the missing ingredients to enrich Sunday, Saturday, or Wednesday night discussion. They provide a unique point of view and sometime are in the know about certain things that the church may not be privy to. The Church is also of value to the community, because they can also contain the know how and because they are usually attached to some denominational structure, the funds or the know through various partnerships with other denominations and groups cause a serious change in the climate that exists between the church and the community.
They would definitely work better together than apart. The proverb would show them the value in each other and how much more effective they would be together instead of apart. As Howard Thurman would say, meet each other where they are, the relationship might not be the best, but if both parties are willing to do with work, what a great impact they would have. The bottom line is we need them and they need us. Each member is equally as important. Let's change the definition of community and include a community, where we have a mutual giving and sharing, it's not that we are going to be this perfect society, but we will respect our difference and find solutions that satisfy both groups.