Community is not just about organizing people, it is about gathering with others for the greater good of all. Most of the community we experience is unplanned. You might go for a walk and meet a neighbour with her dog coming towards you. You might smile when her dog barks and stop as it runs towards you letting him know it's okay for him to greet you. You might bend down and let the dog smell your hand and talk to it gently, musically. His eyes will look at you and his tail will wag if he's happy to meet you. He may be thinking "Oh dear, there's a person without a dog - she must be lonely all by herself". Or he may be thinking "What's that smell - must investigate". You won't know just what he is thinking but his energy and enthusiasm will greet you and you'll know you have been addressed.
This is mostly how community works - without planning and with some trust.
Community planning is good too, but when we begin to rely on someone else to make the rules we begin to feel powerless.
"A chosen people is the opposite of a master race, first, because it is not a race but a covenant; second because it exists to serve God, not to master others. A master race worships itself, a chosen people worships something beyond itself. A master race believes it has rights; a chosen people knows only that it has responsibilities." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name, Schocken, New York. 2015.
As someone who does not identify as a chosen people or part of a master race, I ruminate about how to respond to the world, particularly that part of the world I cannot endorse. So I am comforted by the people who have taken on ministry and who feel responsible enough to care for community.
How do I act on a feeling of responsibility without assuming that I know what other people should do, or what we should do? It's very easy to slip into a political preaching that suggests I know, or that my being a good example means that others should follow it. Or worse yet, create…
A very important article in The Guardian analyses the rise of hyper-masculinity and the phenomenon of Angry White Men. "Sociologist Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon. - His recent research has looked at topics including spree killers (who are overwhelmingly male and white), as well as the relationship between masculinity and political extremism."
In the article there is a report on a study on testosterone where 5 monkeys are observed. The one who rises to the top beats up number 2 and number 2 beats up number 3 - and so it goes down to number 5.