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Faith communities talk about community as if all are in community but there is some hard-work ahead for those who want to live in genuine community.
M. Scott Peck has outlined some stages groups go through to reach community.
Pseudocommunity—a “stage of pretense” that pretends there are no differences that could cause conflict. Because this stage takes time and work, and is not easy or effortless, may never get beyond this stage.
Chaos—this is when “profound differences” emerge, and chaos follows in the wake of trying to obliterate the differences. This stage can be self-destructive or a retreat to pseudocommunity. It means loss of control—giving up some control for sake of community.
Emptiness—the “hard, hard work” when members work at getting rid of everything that is in the way of genuine community—”prejudices, snap judgments, fixed expectations, desire to convert, heal, or fix, the urge to win, the fear of looking like a fool, the need to control,” is a slow, painful process that requires open conflict and discussion—people must pass through the pain of intimacy; churches plaster over the pain rather than pass through it; we avoid pain at all cost.
Community—often comes suddenly and dramatically, in a spirit of peace. “There is more silence, yet more of worth gets said. It is like music. The people work together with an exquisite sense of timing, as if they were a finely tuned orchestra under the direction of an invisible celestial conductor. Many actually sense the presence of God in the room.” Community comes when people feel they can be “real”—they don’t have to like one another but must care about each other.