Community or Competition

vintage-photo-of-minneapolis-farmers-marketI did one of those Facebook games that revealed your most used words on Facebook. Fortunately for my wife, who is also a friend on Facebook, her name was one of the top used words, as was the word love and the names of my children. Whew, I was sweating that one!

Another word that was used a lot is the word community.  I have a lot of investment into the idea of community. It can be micro defined to indicate smaller subsections.  I want to use it in macro, to describe an entire way of thinking, of letting the thought of community influence and even dictate an approach to every day life.

On the other side of the spectrum is the word competition.  It didn’t show up at all on the Facebook game I played.  It can have several meanings, but the one I am looking at is the market way of thinking. Marketing, acquisition, competition!  Marketing operates under the assumption that there is a limited amount of resource available.  It assumes scarcity and uses fear of privation* to manipulate acquisition. Ruled by the marketing mindset one must compete, do whatever one is capable of to gather and store up this finite resource for yourself otherwise you will not have enough.  My abilities to gather and store make me better than someone who is not able to do the same. It takes no mind of what it takes away, only that it is yours by way of possession. It means that if I do not win then I lose, but for me to win then you must lose.

In a community mindset the assumption is that there is an abundance. There is enough to go around. Rather than scrambling to gather all that you can for yourself you are more inclined to share, help others gather, make sure that everyone has what they need.  Its OK, tomorrow there will be more. In the community way of thinking life slows down a bit. There seems to be more time to smell, to taste, and to savor living.  Our existence is no longer a race to some unseen finish line, but a tasty, meandering journey to be enjoyed for what it is.

Trying to live community in a market world takes work, intentionality, and determination.  A community minded person cannot force the market minded world to LOGO_BUYNOW_BLACKchange. They can only change their little corner of influence.  Sometimes community will be directly opposed by market, and often times market will win the battle, but the overall victor is still undecided.

I run my life internally under the principles of community.  My family and I invest ourselves into hospitality, extending the walls of our home out into the world, opening our lives to others.  We try to be generous givers, both of love and of substance.  We want to be even more generous. I understand that doing business in the market place has with it the inevitable contractual obligation.  It is what I have to do to pay my bills and enjoy the services of heat, lights, and others.

I run my business internally under the principles of community.  Rather than contracts, which state specific actions and restricts actions, we work under the idea of covenant.  Covenant is freedom and commitment all rolled into one big burrito!  As a community we covenant to work toward the good of the whole community. We share the resources rather than hoard them.  We do what we do to gather and know that there will always be enough and that there will be more tomorrow.

It isn’t that hard to do once there is some buy into the idea.  After all, that is what we all want. That is the kind of life Christ and the Apostles pointed to when they spoke of Kingdom.  It is hard to resist the temptation to assume scarcity.  It takes trust to believe that there will always be enough.  It makes us vulnerable. It takes a little while to begin to see that the heart really does resonate with being in and a part of a real community.

It is never easy, but sometimes people who buy into scarcity will attempt to take away from those who buy into abundance.  When that happens the temptation is to let them convince you that there really is a scarcity. Fear of loss can drive us away from love and community. That is why Jesus said to give to those who ask and not withhold.  His goal wasn’t to take away what we have,  but to show that your Heavenly Father cares and provides. All we have to do is believe enough to go and gather.

If you are able, we welcome you to explore living in community, both macro and micro, along side of us.  It is an experiment in being vulnerable and loving lavishly.  It is a reflection of what Kingdom living and Christ Following is all about.  It is also a great deal of fun, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be doing it.


noun: privation; plural noun: privations
  1. a state in which things that are essential for human well-being such as food and warmth are scarce or lacking.
    “years of rationing and privation”
    synonyms: deprivation, hardship, destitution, impoverishment, want, need, neediness, austerity

    “years of rationing and privation”
    antonyms: plenty, luxury
    • formal
      the loss or absence of a quality or attribute that is normally present.
      “cold is the privation of heat”

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