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Friday, November 5, 2010

My Community.

This is a snapshot of my community:

ages 24 to 84; a former Trappist monk; a Roman Catholic women priest; an Orthodox Jew – who is not necessarily a Zionist and who rediscovered his faith by reading Kierkegaard; a devout Muslim (who converted from Catholicism); a few Catholics of varying degree; an illegal immigrant; a professor of sociology; a nurse; a teacher; a mathematician; a philosopher; an urban gardener; a published Catholic Worker scholar; a recovering alcoholic; a nomad; a small friendly dog; an opera lover; a bread maker; a jazz musician; a few anarchists and a few communists; eight people who pledge nonviolence and one who does not; a potter; a feminist; a few activist/protesters; and all of us call ourselves Catholic Workers.

Each of these labels only describes a small part of each member of the community. The diversity leads to opportunities to learn from each other and learn about each other’s traditions. The Muslim is teaching the community how to memorize scripture. We don’t have community activities on Friday nights in order to observe the Sabbath. Morning prayer is said at the same time just in different languages, in different rooms, and in different forms, but all to the same God. Each day we gather together, bring our unique gifts and backgrounds, to offer hospitality, a warm meal, a safe place to sleep, a listening ear, and a friendly smile to whoever walks in the door.

In the Acts of the Apostles Paul writes,
“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes” (Acts 2:43-46).

In Corinthians he says, “I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (Corinthians 1:10).

The Quran says:
"Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily, to them will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions." Surah 16, Verse 97

"O mankind! We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know and honor each other (not that you should despise one another). Indeed the most honorable of you in the sight of God is the most righteous." Surah 49, Verse 13

The Talmud says:
“Man has three friends on whose company he relies. First, wealth which goes with him only while good fortune lasts. Second, his relatives; they go only as far as the grave, leave him there. The third friend, his good deeds, goes with him beyond the grave.”

People say community living is not possible. People make excuses – people are too different, too independent, and too judgmental. I disagree; my experience says community living is possible. People say peace is not possible. People make excuse – those other people are too different, they don’t understand us, and here is too much history. I disagree; my experience says peace is possible.

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