What Holds Us Together
I've been thinking about what holds us together as a community. This has been on my mind because of the many people I hear from, almost daily, who are hungering for true community but can't find it. I see this especially in the young, who have no interest in what used to define community. They are looking for something else.
It has become obvious to me that, for instance, it isn't the marriage license, the certificate, the paper, that holds a marriage together. It has also become increasingly obvious to me that neither do the vows, the promises, or the wedding ceremony, hold a marriage together. I've also become aware that compatibility, having things in common, sharing a common goal or vision, is not the cohesive glue in a relationship either.
Translate this analogy of marriage into community life, you have the same thing. Being a member does not hold a community together. Being a part of a church doesn't keep it. Neither do the sacraments or vows or promises. Neither does theological unity or common goals or a shared vision hold it together.
It can only be love, mutual love, that holds a relationship or a community together. What I am trying to say is that we have to get to the place where we realize that we just can't expect people to remain committed to each other because it is expected, or promises were made, or there is uniformity in whatever area, or that there is a common goal we've set for them. People, especially younger people, aren't interested in uniformity, conformity, or forms of any kind. There must be genuine acceptance, honesty, authenticity, freedom, and love for community to work. This requires intense energy from each person, and nothing outside of themselves can be called upon to ensure the relationship will work... no authority, document, ruler, goal, vision, practice, or tradition.
This is why I don't strive for theological uniformity, homogeneity in life-style, protocol, authority, submission, legal agreement, or anything of the sort. These no longer matter. It comes down to love, its practice. That is, the way of love.