Vanier on community…

jean-vanier

‘Community can be a terrible place because it is a place of relationship; it is the revelation of our wounded emotions and of how painful it can be to live with others, especially with ‘some people.’ It is so much easier to live with books and objects, television, or dogs and cats! It is so much easier to live alone and just do things for others, when one feels like it…. While we are alone, we could believe we loved everyone’.

Jean Vanier ’Community and Growth’
I pinched this quote from my mate Graham’s blog.
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Because Vanier puts into words what most of us instinctively know to be true. Our relating is mostly driven by self- our need for friendship/entertainment/validation/collaboration.
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It is this kind of relating that allows us to believe that we live ‘good’ lives, that we are ‘nice’ and that we are ‘Christian’ even.
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My experience is that community first teaches us that we are none of these things.
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Most of us recoil at this point- surely there must be something wrong with the people we are communing with? Joe is a pain the arse, Gill is a power hungry despot-in-training, Jim has far too many opinions and should just shut up before I slap him. Better to just go home and watch TV.
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I confess I have watched a lot of TV.
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But still, there is community. They have not kicked me out yet…

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