Archive for September, 2013


September 4, 2013 14 comments

As I’ve stated before, I have a love-hate relationship with social media… particularly Facebook.  Although it can be quite entertaining, educational and even inspirational at times, it’s mostly an outlet for unabashed vanity and narcissistic exploitation that exposes itself in all age categories.  I’ll stop there.

Dragon-conThis past weekend I did enjoy a few pictures on FB from an event that happened last weekend in Atlanta called:  The Dragon-Con 2013.  I didn’t have the energy to explore it too deeply, but the pictures that I did see were… ummmm… special.  Obviously, there are lots and lots of grown-ups still into fantasy or at least the fun of it.  That’s kewl… I think.   Guess it’s not much different than me pretending to be a golfer.  Trust me… that too is a fantasy.  What are you pretending at?

I mention all that because it got me thinking about a phrase I hear often from the folks that I do commonly read on Facebook:


“I need (spiritual) community!”


My first thought is always:  “Yes you do.”

My second thought is:  “Do you have any idea what real spiritual community is?”

My third thought is:  “Do I know what it is anymore?”

Most of what people call “community” is nothing more than a “belonging system”.  It’s a place or a group of people that make you feel like you belong.  The Dragon-con people are a belonging system.  It’s a safe place to wear the costume, apply the paint, and be in the role.  There is mutual appreciation and respect for the courage it takes to do all that!  Its whole purpose is to provide a place to see and be seen.  To blow off a little steam.

Go for it Batman… Yoda… and Wolverine!  The world is safer because of you.

But, if I’m not mistaken, “spiritual community” is supposed to be something else.  Sometimes, our so-called “spiritual communities” are nothing more than “religious belonging systems”.

We wear the apropos costume, we apply the paint of what we want to project, we live in the role, we respect and measure each others piety and it’s definitely a place to see and be seen.  Sorry, that’s pretty hard… but, there is “some” truth in it.

Real “community” should be something different.  “We” or “me” can’t be the center of what holds us together.  It’s supposed to be forged and bonded by a bigger and stronger reality that pushes us to change internally.  It can’t operate from our egocentric impulse and perspectives.  It can’t morph according to our every whim and appetite.  There has to be a deeper foundation other than what seems to be “the hot word” for today.

There needs to be an element of confrontation.  A voice, an influence, a ribbon of unwavering truth that won’t let us give in to our internal bitchy voice of selfish immaturity that wants to govern us constantly.  Community notices when we stink and offers much needed soap and water.  It’s not afraid of our gaps or the gaps in this world, and might even be willing to soil itself in order to fill a gap or two if possible.

It provides contrast and encourages coming out of the pretense.  “Take off the costume… remove the fig leaf… quit hiding… be real”.  You might find it in an institution, a movement, or with the spiritually hip… but don’t hold your breath.

Just because you’re with the band… doesn’t mean you’re in the band.  Anyone can sit in a pew.  Are you there to conform or transform?  What’s easy and obvious may not be right for you.  Don’t be afraid to look around.

Community IS out there.  But don’t follow the pretty people and expect to find the gold.  Smell for the smoke… look for the broken… recognize the trail of tears… search for the honest.  It could be with the guys at the pub or on the back deck with brews and cigars; or with the chicks doing yoga after work, but real community is magic without the fantasy.

The thing you’re looking for—the genuine love of a spiritual family–may not feel like love at all when you first encounter it.  But the penetrating whisper of the Spirit’s white noise will tell you to “wait and see”.  But make no mistake, spiritual community is down with getting down into your pit when you can’t climb out by yourself.  Messy is just a part of the understood norm.

Keep looking if you’re thirsty for community.  It won’t be complete until you get there.



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