Community Belonging

Many who talk of community talk about “belonging”, which is a sense of shared identity, a feeling of acceptance and perhaps understanding. You can go along to a party and for a brief moment have a feeling of “community”, but then you have to go back home – where is the community then? Do you have to wait until the next event appears on the calendar? That’s been my experience in many Neopagan groups, where likeminded people get together outside of their normal routine, have a great time discussing “meaningful” things, doing rituals, attending camps and workshops, but then they have to go back to our normal routing – the bills won’t pay themselves, will they?

But this belonging doesn’t often sustain itself beyond the events that produces it, there is no commitment beyond that feeling of “belonging”, whatever that may be. Which conveniently stops short of conflict appearing, which invariably happens in community. You go along for a weekend camp, get the benefits of “good feeling” which you can take back to work with you and not have to face the possibility of conflict, and perhaps that is why some many “communities” don’t develop beyond a sort of Sunday Christian phenomenon, because they don’t want to face the conflict that lies behind the “good times”.

Sustainable community takes more than a weekend of “belonging”, it involves facing conflict and working through it, coming to a consensus, and cooperation and compromise that sometimes mean putting aside personal interests, and commitment to a project that doesn’t rely on personal interests alone.

The theme of “co” is no accident, and if there was no “co”, then community wouldn’t be(long). 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Community Belonging

  1. This is one of the things I so value about community via a distance, as I find the magic and wonder of online community able to link and then develop various networks that may or may not ever benefit from a face-to-face component. For me, I find that meeting people at conferences alone, for example, is not as valuable as having extended online communication / community, interspersed from time to time with F2F elements to pepper up an otherwise potentially faceless ongoing support network.

    Not to mention, a weekend at a gathering gives only one vantage point from which to know somebody.

    Have you ever maintained contact with any of these folks from such gatherings, perhaps before of after?

    Jeffrey

    • Face-to-face gatherings are great because you can get a sense of the person in front, but it usually isn’t sustained beyond those gatherings, unless it’s through the internet.

      On the Internet conversations can be a bit more sustained, but I still feel distant and don’t always a sense of commitment or coherence (but more so than weekend gatherings).

      I’m fortunate in that I live and work on a project with two people that are also OBOD members, so we “gather” face-to-face each day in a sustained way.

      Thanks for your comments 🙂

  2. More built from scratch than built-in, it’s not IKEA lol. And it has to be worked on everyday, from simple updates to restructuring what we’re doing ansd why we’re doing it. Convenient it is not, though I do feel very fortunate 🙂

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