i'd love to throw some ideas around about what it would take to create even a semblance of sustainable authentic community. i've been thinking about two very basic things....proximity and a shared life.
proximity - i just wonder if people need to be closer locationally. i feel this to be especially true with small children. driving for 30 minutes in a car is one thing as an adult, but gets FAR more complicated with children. being close to others seems to be a key element in #2 as well.....
a shared life - i can get by without ever connecting to anyone in a week if i don't need anything from people. and that's exactly what i've created in my house....a self-sustainable environment with everything i need. or at least i thought....until the pain of loneliness says that there's something wrong with my system.
i wonder if a way out is to setup life so that i'm forced to share. (i have parents' voices running in my head...."share your toys, luke." "no, i don't want to!" :)
would it work to intentionally get rid of stuff....some tools, baby equipment and clothes, speciality items, etc.? if we knew others in our "community" had them, could we downsize and....share? i'm just brainstorming here. i can imagine all sorts of practical trouble. but if i'm forced to drive 10 minutes to borrow a tool from a friend, at least i've been "forced" to be indebted to another person and maybe i'll even talk to them. :)
what if a community created online lists somehow with things that could be shared with the group? like stuff, skills, gifts, talents, etc. no pressure, no guilt. just invitation to relationship and to living out jesus' teachings together.
what else would need to be in place for real community to foster in our disconnected american culture?