What has happened to community?
Historically, our country was made of a collection of small clusters of people. They lived in accomodating towns, villages and even cities where everyone could essentially know everyone else, and because they knew each other, they trusted each other through proven communication of shared ideals and similar paradigms.
Today, (I speak for myself), we don’t know our neighbor’s first names. There is quite a contrast between the community of yesterday and today. Our belief systems and our ideals are not similar anymore (or they might be if we took the time to find out), and it is our differences that we tend to fear the most.
I am one of those guys that talks to every person that will dare to make eye contact with me and have the fortune of being idol at the time. Grocery lines are one of my favorite places to test my communication skills, and I have learned some things in the process of years of being me that I find quite interesting.
I believe that most people genuinely desire to be connected to others. Laying down fears and putting aside assumed prejudices and stereotypical hangups, most people will engage with someone who approaches them with a smile and a friendly gesture and word. Not everyone is like me, looking for any opportunity whatsoever to get to know someone new, but most will casually respond with a cordial greeting and even continue to offer more in terms of communication that is unique to their personality and style.
In Nashville a few weeks ago when I went to sing on the Bobby Jones Gospel Show, I strolled the parking lot of the hotel late at night. Chris, the night security guard, and I talked for almost five minutes. His accent was difficult for me to get through, but I could ascertain that he was a genuine individual with respect for himself and others. He is probably someone I would engage with in a community.
Courtney Lee Pierce, an up and coming music sensation in Nashville who happened to clerk the desk of the hotel was genuine and extremely nice. She is a credit to the human race and to Southern folk in general. Check her out on Youtube. She is also a good singer even though she was too bashful to really give us a listen at the hotel, live, of course.
I am not going to drone on with this for the simple fact that I appreciate your thoughts that you may already be having. What has happened to community? Why are people separate? Is it fear? Are we too busy? Do we sit blogging in front of our computers too much? Have we accepted that this is the way that it is and there is nothing to do about it? I have lots of questions and not too many answers. I certainly do have an opinion though.
My opinion is that we have a tendency to disconnect from the very things that we need the most. The reason that we don’t throw a block party once a month is that it is just easier not to. I know that is an extreme, but look at all the logistics you would have to take into account. Will people bring alcohol? Will they bring enough alcohol? Will there be moochers? Will everyone come? Will I like any of them? Etc, etc, etc. I know this is a silly example, but it was all I had. Think about it! What could we do to reestablish community? Or do we even care?
I have more thoughts on this topic, but I want to shape them first. Have a great day and many blessings!!!