The PhxP Archives: On Community

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34 Responses

  1. dusty says:

    I love you.

  2. dusty says:

    I don’t think that way…i see you all as people. …my on line friends…family. …praying for you all makes you all real to me…..i love you all. ((((Hugs)))))

  3. Xenia says:

    What you have described is The Shire.

    Personally, I am just a very tall hobbit.

  4. Jean says:

    There has always been a maxim regarding discussing religion and politics, and for the longest time, it applied to in person relationships among friends and family.

    We know where the friction points are, so we decide communally to keep those topics private when gathering with others who we know or suspect feel differently. We try to stay on topics that don’t get heated for the sake of harmony.

    I would expect the maxim to apply also to social media with social media friends. Why wouldn’t it?

    Therefore, most social media sites dealing with religion or politics are either relatively homogeneous or are strongly moderated. For example, if you follow Roger Olson’s blog, he only allows comments to him and does not allow cross discussion among his readers.

  5. Michael says:

    Love you too, Dusty…

  6. dusty says:

    I love that there is a community here. We are all in different places in our Christian walk and can talk it out. I see tussels but i see the same two come to agreement on somthing the next day…..there is heat. But our love beats it out.

    I would like to go home too, but am proud to have this community until then.

  7. Michael says:


    I’m completely ignorant of Tolkien…

  8. Michael says:


    We’re not homogeneous or strongly moderated…and that’s a problem.
    I keep believing that a common faith can overcome, but I’m realizing there is no such thing in the minds of many.

  9. Michael says:


    One of the things I’ve had to come to grips with is that home no longer exists as it used too…and this is where we live today.

    Our real home awaits us…

  10. dusty says:

    You seem sad today. 🙁

    I’m with you i can’t wait to go Home

  11. Xenia says:

    I think we are as isolated as we want to be and that we can be part of a warm, loving community if we want to. It might require some effort on our parts but it is possible.

    I live in, what I will call, a disrupted town. Many immigrants who come and go. For a while, there was a huge Vietnamese population. One morning we woke up and they had all packed up and left. All the programs the local schools were trying to implement to help the Vietnamese students had to be scrapped. Now we have a lot of El Salvadorans and folks from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. And there’s the large African American core group that pretty much founded the town and ran the city government until recently. We have a lot of empty stores and ethnic groceries that come and go. Our “downtown” is not very attractive- it’s a collection of cheaply constructed stores that need repair and a third of them are empty now. (At least the porn theater is gone.)

    Yet even in this place, you can find all the sense of community you want if you are willing to participate. We were helpful to our non-English speaking Hispanic neighbors and the next thing you know, we are invited to their son’s baptism and they insist we be in the official baptism photo. We are invited to the party afterwards. So even language doesn’t have to be a barrier.

    I remember a few years ago I wanted to improve my small front yard which looked like a cat’s litter box. I started digging and planting and the next thing I know, all the neighbors- all kinds of people!- started bringing me cuttings from their yards.

    I visit the African American Baptist church across the street from time to time and they make me feel as welcome as flowers in the springtime. I think if I wasn’t Orthodox I would make that place my church home.

    Meals on Wheels, of course helps anchor us to the community.

    Our number one connection is our church family, of course. I love those people so much I can’t begin to tell you.

    The most interesting thing about all this is that I am an introvert. All I *really* want to do is stay home and read. It is *always* an effort for me to leave the house. Once I am out and about I am quite friendly but it is always against my basic nature to go places. When someone invites us to dinner my initial thought is “Oh No!”

    I do have some online communities, of which PhxP is number one. I attend an online university (working on a masters in medieval literature) and we students do frequently talk to each other about obscure topics. So I do value online connections.

    All to say, I think if we deliberately isolate ourselves we can’t complain if we feel isolated.

  12. John 20:29 says:

    “Home no longer exists..”. Made me smile. The comfortable tree lined street where i grew up is now covered with condos and parking garages. The homes were beautiful and built to last for hundreds of years and the neighbors were neighborly – Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians … God fearing all (except for a couple lemons. ? )
    For the most part they were older 2nd generation in their houses and they’d raised what we call our greatest generation…. Is it any wonder that there is a feeling that. the earth is in a downward spiral toward the “end times?” It may not be, but i kind of hope it is. … Lord, lets get this thing over with, but if not, give us strength to carry on

  13. JoelG says:

    I prefer isolation, but it gets lonely. I feel like Eeyore in a room for of Joel Osteens in community (at least Christian Community). I try to connect with folks on social media but end up feeling more rejected than anything else.

    It is what it is. It motivates me to seek out the lonely and ignored in society.

  14. Xenia says:

    Am I a poor Christian for being content here on earth?

  15. Michael says:


    That’s a great question!
    I think not…we’re called to a measure of contentedness.

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    #8 Michael

    I may be showing my cards here, but I’m not sure that it is so much about a “common faith” as it is about “common roots” (to use Bob Webber’s words). In the case of this community, it seems to apply in more ways than one. Many of us have common roots in some sort of a Calvary Chapel experience – good, bad or indifferent. Secondly, most here share common roots in Scripture, Creeds and (for some fewer) the early tradition of the Church. These provide us with a “common faith” in Christ, but I think the expression of that faith in theology and practice is varied – and the variations create issues and, on occasion conflict if, in fact, we focus on our varied differences rather than what we share in common.

    In my thinking, we make a conscious choice, as we do in our everyday interactions in society at large. I guess what I’m saying is that in some sense, community is a choice… one that we all make, positively or negatively..

  17. Jean says:

    “Am I a poor Christian for being content here on earth?”

    Humans are creatures, made specifically from and for earth. We should be content we’re here, but not content that sin has corrupted it and us. Thus, Christians are the mourners…. We long for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven.

  18. John 20:29 says:

    As Xenia described so well, there are still communities to be found…. 5 years ago i sold my home in town and moved up here in the mountains, a logging community of sorts – disastrous fire having wiped out their livelyhood … They wave as you drive by and it is a given that they’re right there if you have a problem of any kind. They are smart, problem solvers, but ambitious manipulators,they are not.
    Sadly, tho this jewel is on the radar of those with money – they’re buying up the wooded llots on the river, building statement houses and whipping down the road at 50 mph with their noses in the air. The most help to be expected from them would be the advice to get out if their way…. I suspect we have a mechanized, electrified version of the land that Jesys walked 2,000 years back… dunno

  19. Xenia says:

    I think about all the cranky “get off my lawn!” old people who, when they die, don’t even have a funeral because there’s no one to attend. Because of their hypersensitivity and ease of offense, they quit church, don’t talk to their neighbors, have alienated their children, etc. Some relative will oversee the cremation and talk about maybe a memorial service at some future date, which never happens.

    You reap what you sow.

  20. Xenia says:

    As Xenia described so well, there are still communities to be found<<<

    Well, this isn't exactly the point of my story. 🙂

    My point was that even in the most dreary locales you can make a community if you want. If you go looking for "a community to be found" you will probably never find it.

  21. j2theperson says:

    xkcd posted a cartoon recently that this article has brought to mind.

    I do tend to agree with Xenia that you can make a community if you want. I think that extends into the digital realm as well. Facebook, frankly, has been a sanity saver to me as a working mom of two young children. I only have time to go out on my own once every couple of weeks and it’s currently a toss up whether any of the women I know will be able to get together at the same time. I would be absolutely starved for grown-up interaction and connection if I could only rely on in-person, physical connections. But I can talk to peers and have grown-up conversations every day because we’re able to connect online. Last year after my son was born he had some major feeding and weight gain issues; if I had been all alone, I’m not sure I could have handled it, but I was able to talk about it to people online and get the encouragement and emotional support that I needed to get through what was a really rough time. I’m facebook friends with a woman I never really knew in real life (she was friends with some of my siblings), but eventhough I didn’t know her very well and she lives a couple hours away I was able to see her mention that she underwent a very unexpected cesarean section and I was able to hook her up with her local ICAN group and reassure her that what she was feeling was very normal after what she went through. I’ve had siblings leave the country for extended periods of time, but we’ve been able to maintain our friendship through the internet. To me, this is no less real a community than one in “real life”.

    You say “We are “friends” with gravatars…until they offend us, then we “unfriend” the gravatar and and speak evil of it to as many people as will “follow” us.” That has not, by and large, been my experience at all in the online world; though I recognize it is that way for some people. But, that is a person’s choice. You can choose to not be friends with gravatars but to seek to know and be friends with the person behind the gravatar. It takes effort to connect with people online just as it takes effort to connect with people in “real life”.

  22. JoelG says:

    “they quit church” “you reap what you sow”

    I really identify with this quote from Bonhoeffer:

    “I often ask myself why a “Christian instinct” often draws me more to the religionless people than to the religious, by which I don’t in the least mean with any evangelizing intention, but, I might almost say, “in brotherhood.””

  23. John 20:29 says:

    #19 made me smile as my instructions to my family are to cremate my remains, place them in the niche where their father’s are and no funeral or memorial service of any kind
    But i dont think i’ve told anyone to get off my lawn… a dog or two who thought it was their potty place… ?

    Oh, and “to be found” was a figure of speech… but, if it was interpreted to mean that one can’t build community, then clarifucation was definitely in order… apologies for muddying the point

  24. Kevin H says:


    You are the first person who I only knew online who referred to me as Friend. It caught me off guard the first time you did it, as I had never thought of it that way for someone I had never met in real life. But I quickly came to realize that it was true. And it is meaningful, even if we miss out on the opportunity of having real life interaction.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to trying to maintain an online community. What we have here has been far from easy to maintain with all kinds of different challenges, and yet it still remains. It is different than any kind of real life community, but different does not mean better or worse. It means what it means.

    I have not been nearly as active here the last few months primarily because life has been keeping me busier. That, and if I am honest, I also have tired of the regular haggling of Lutheran doctrine being applied in what often appears to me in a condescending or superior fashion to so much of the discussion here of late and it curtails my desire to participate. But this is just one more challenge to work through.

    God calls his people to unity. Now, there are a lot of different ways and angles we can look at that, but the bottom line is that God wants us to be unified in some form or fashion. I believe having this community here, as much as it has been vexing at times, is helping to fulfill that call.

  25. Paige says:

    “Getting along was not an option”. You know, this sounds like “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”.

    I so agree with the comment about how long ago, decorum called for avoiding ‘politics and religion”, for the sake of maintaining relationships. Still works today. There are good and evil people on both sides of the board.

    I also agree with J2theperson, and feel like my online relationships are a life saver, and are
    real to me. I’ve met some of the folks I’ve connected with online. Sometimes we click, sometimes we don’t. That’s life. Most of my real human relationships are like that, involving various levels of depth or superficiality.

    Made me also think of Psalms 27 “I would have despaired if I did not think I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” KJV or the NIV “I am still confident of this: that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

    “Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come. T’was Grace that brought me safe thus far, and Grace will lead me Home”.

    Life is hard and despair often lurks in the corners, wanting me to take my eyes off of the very good things God is still doing every day. My hope is in the Lord. Period. Nothing else. He never disappoints, tho He does take me by surprise.

    In the meantime, I am happy to create “home’ wherever I am; Mom to the world, church, neighbors, clients, etc, all the while, I look forward in God’s good timing, to the Day I receive my transfer.

    X… I love Black church too.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    Kevin H

    Very well said…

  27. Michael says:


    What Duane said…

    Some of the relationships I’ve formed here are as close to my heart as family.
    I only use the word “friend” when I mean it…

  28. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t think being in community equals having buddie. Having a buddy is a special kind of relationship – I have had 3 or 4 in my lifetime and doubt I will cultivate any others.
    Community on the other hand is having some things in common even if with a very light tough.
    The town I live in has great community events and that does draw people together – but our town is made up of retirees, recreational (people up for a short term to boat, 4 wheel etc) and the remainder I am sure are running from the law. Community happen on main street where the motorcycle guys fill up the street on Wednesday nights and the classic car guys on Thursdays. Hang around Main St – the bars and the gun shops and you will see real community- you just strike up a conversation and you have a friend for the evening — and then you go home at night

  29. Dan from Georgia says:

    I remember back when I was a kid all the TV stations went to static or test patterns after 12 or 1am. There was no round-the-clock “breaking news” or endless replays of storm chaser shows or Division III hockey games. Nighttime was for the most part peaceful, even in the suburbs.

    Honestly, I have a hard time liking people these days. It seems as though I’ve let bias and assumptions invade my heart and mind too much. Sure, I can blame “the media” or “social media” for my dislikes, but have I asked God yet to heal my heart? I think he’s still waiting.

    Here’s another thing I miss from days of yore…going out to eat and not seeing 80% of the people in the restaurant looking down at their device with that glow on their face, or having their device next to their plate.

  30. Duane Arnold says:

    #29 Dan

    When I go out to lunch with some regular friends, we have a rule – we stack our phones in the middle of the table with the ringers off. If a phone in the stack buzzes, the first person who reaches to see if it is their phone pays the bill!

  31. j2theperson says:

    ***I remember back when I was a kid all the TV stations went to static or test patterns after 12 or 1am. ***

    My mother in law said she watched a lot of late night movies when my husband was a baby because he nursed so much at night. Prior to tablets and smart phones there were probably many parents to newborn babies who found some degree of comfort in late night TV. There are positive aspects to be found.

  32. Dan from Georgia says:

    Duane (30)…that’s great!

  33. Dan from Georgia says:

    j2 (31)…many of my favorite movies were movies I remember watching late at night!

  34. SMH says:

    I’m with Joel G.

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