This extract from A Place Called Community
by Parker J. Palmer,[Pendle Hill Pamphlet no. 212, Pendle Hill Publications, 1977] speaks to some aspects, with a global perspective, of last week's Trinity Institute: "Building and Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace".
In true community we will not choose our companions, for our choices are so often limited by self-serving motives. Instead, our companions will be given to us by grace. Often they will be persons who will upset our settled view of self and world. In fact, we might define true community as that place where the person you least want to live with lives! . . .
Community reminds us that we are called to love, for community is a product of love in action and not of simple self-interest. Community can break our egos open to the experience of a God who cannot be contained by our conceptions. Community will teach us that our grip on truth is fragile and incomplete, that we need many ears to hear the fullness of God's word for our lives. And the disappointments of community life can be transformed by our discovery that the only dependable power for life lies beyond all human structures and relationships.
In this religious grounding lies the only real hedge against the risk of disappointment in seeking community. That risk can be borne only if it is not community one seeks, but truth, light, God.
Do not commit yourself to community, but commit yourself to God. . . . In that commitment you will find yourself drawn into community."