Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
Finding community remains a challenge for me. I’ve always hoped to be part of a small intentional community that worships together, studies together, is involved in social justice work together, and plays together. I’ve never found the group though. During the early and mid-90s, a small group from my congregation came as close as any group I’ve been a part of to being that community, but that was a non-intentional coming together of circumstances and as a few of the circumstances changed, so did the existence of that community. I’m still friendly with many of them but we do less of the “all around” community stuff together than we used to.
I discovered community of a different kind in the online cohort doing their doctoral work with me. We met online at least weekly during the years when we were doing our work and also gathered F2F several times throughout the years and I feel fairly well connected with them –all but one of us keeps in touch with each other and a few of our profs on FB- but since we’ve graduated there’s been no regular gathering.
Recently I’ve tried to find the community I long for in a variety of places. I’ve tried various types of gatherings in Second Life—mainly worship settings or educational gatherings—but so far they just haven’t cut it as a community, mainly because I find it very hard to be part of groups where the way of communicating is only typing slowly back and forth and each group I’ve connected with uses that method of communication rather than SL voice. I enjoyed one of the SL congregations that ran a book group and worship service I attended this summer but their fall gatherings have all been when I’ve been at work so attending hasn’t been possible. Maybe in 2011?
Kathy and I have also joined a small group called the Green Yoga Sangha. It meets about once a month and focuses mainly on environmental issues as they impact our personal lives and our communities. It seems to have a movable feast of interesting people who come and go and I’ve enjoyed each of the three times we’ve met with the group. They come from all types of careers (though last month for some reason the bulk of the group were lawyers) and all types of philosophies of belief but most, if not all, practice yoga regularly. I’m hoping that as we attend more of their gatherings in 2011 that may begin to provide more community for both of us.
What kind of community would I like to connect with in 2011? An intentional one. The setting—online or F2F- seems less important to me than the intentionality and the focus. I’d love to be with a group who are intending to live lightly on the earth in an environmentally responsible way, who want to treat all creation as sacred, and who are interested in finding ways to make that intent and that belief more concrete in the world around them. I keep searching environmental groups that are out there—especially permaculture groups, who from stuff I’ve read seem to come closest to this—to try to find such a local and/or online community, but so far, no luck. But I’ll keep at it and hope that, in 2011, it’ll become a reality.