Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Longing for Koinonia

I wish I lived in a community where I could sit out on my front porch and pick my guitar of an evening and have friends come walking down the street, stop and join me for some human fellowship. I wish I could offer iced tea, lemonade, or a glass of wine and a good discussion could follow: Koinonia.

I wish I had the ability to dig in the dirt with my fellow humans, but alas, the community garden is thirty miles away, so we don't participate.

I wish there were a way to share my table with others and offer hospitality, say compline together before going or separate ways.

I hate hate hate having to drive forty-five minutes to get to Church. I hate the way we are all so isolated. I always greet my neighbors when I'm out walking and I know they recognize me: I"m the one who's lost so much weight and they are all speculating how much and if I'll loose more. I know because people have asked me. But no one knows my name and I don't know anyone's name and there's a generation gap and no one reaches out. Our neighborhood is not a community. I doubt that it has been since the television was invented.

Meanwhile I have a different vision of life than most, and so I sit here at my stupid computer, longing for Koinonia, when the reality is, it just ain't to be found...

10 comments:

Tabitha said...

It's been a bad year for koinonia in the garden. Too many illnesses, babies, trips, weddings, moves, job changes, you-name-it for much gardening to get done. The weeds are spectacular and a rabbit has gotten in. Still there are a few vegetables and if I can put in a fall crop we may still break even. Shrug. Maybe next year will be better.

I like your front-porch neighborhood description. But I think you're right that it pretty much ceased to exist when the television came along. Dh and I recently admitted that our hospitality level was also being severely hampered by our "stuff-to-space" ratio, especially when compounded with our "this stuff doesn't have a home" factor. American acquisitiveness and mind-numbing entertainment just don't combine well with the communal mindset. Its sad when I think of how many times I have NOT invited someone over because of my stuff! Lord have mercy on me a sinner!

Jim N. said...

I hear ya. I live seven minutes from the parish, but out of 100 families only four of us live that close and we only see one of those families every now and then. Everyone else drives up to an hour to get to the parish. It's sad. Nobody seems to want to know anybody in our neighborhood, either. ...

Meg said...

FWIW, I don't know what I would do for Orthodox fellowship without the internet.

Mimi said...

I would so love that as well.

Thank you again, your songs bring tears to my eyes, your lyrics are AMAZING.

Susan Sophia said...

I completely concur!
We sat in our backyard just last night talking about how we've lived here for 3 years and barely know the neighbors names. I marvel at the fact that I hardly ever hear children running around the neighborhood as when I grew up. That bothers me more than anything. Is it because it's not safe? I don't let my kids run around the neighborhood, but they are in the backyard all the time and I wince whenever they get too loud, I know the neighbors won't miss us with all the noise they create. But I do think Tabitha hit the nail on the head...the TV is what is empyting the neighborhood of the children and the need/desire for community. We commune around the TV instead.

Red said...

Might I suggest that this desire for communion is actually a call for you to create it? Maybe things aren't the way you wish they were but you can do something about it: introduce yourself to your neighbors, throw a block party, have Tuesday night pot luck night at your house. Creating is so much better than complaining.

Red said...

Might I suggest that this desire for communion is actually a call for you to create it? Maybe things aren't the way you wish they were but you can do something about it: introduce yourself to your neighbors, throw a block party, have Tuesday night pot luck night at your house. Creating is so much better than complaining.

JamesoftheNorthwest said...

I would go out on a limb and say that community today struggles so much because of "diversity".

Yes, you can try and create community, andperhaps you should, but you also learn very quickly that your neighbors will likely hold quite different values.

Its funny because we are less and less physically dependent on one another these days...I'm sure you all have noticed when something "big" happens (bad storm, fire...whatever) your neighbors tend to break out in a spontaneous display of community (even if half-hearted), and then once the "danger" subsides we all return to our regularly scheduled isolation.

In some rural communities I suspect you see more common examples of community being displayed in direct proportion to these two factors: common values and how much people need each other.

Of course, in our isolationism we have come to find that we need each other EMOTIONALLY as well, but it precisely HERE where our diverse values cause us conflict.

Sure, I'd love to have a block party...but not if the neighbor is providing entertainment by letting their 7 and 8 year olds watch the entire first season of "Desperate Houswives." Or if my kids would be the butt of jokes for believing that the Body and Blood of Christ is in fact the Body and Blood of Christ. Or if one of the neighbors habitually uses our Lord's name as a cuss word. Or if one of the neighbors is an evangelical bent on converting the idolatrous Orthodox neighbors.

I think you get my point. It is one thing to reach out and be friends...but REAL community? I doubt it. I firmly believe that the extent to which it can happen is based on the two factors I noted before.

Of course, if you don't even KNOW what your neighbors' values are...well they take Red's advice. Count me as being at least somewhat culpable on that point.

alana said...

Now, now red, you don't even know me....and I think you vastly missed my point.

Everblest said...

me too!!!