will campbell on “community”

Reading Lisa’s post immediately brought this to my mind.

“I guess what I really believe is that neighborhoods get reissued. You know, the community.” . . .

. . . “You know what ‘community’ is,” Doops said, his voice rising with impatience. “It’s a bunch of folks getting along for some reason. Something holds them together. Generally something bad. Like me and you and Kingston. Hell, if we had met at the circus we probably wouldn’t even have liked one another. But this damned army, this idiot war, holds us together. Being miserable seems to hold folks together. But when they’re easy and everything is going right, they drift apart. Everybody goes home for a funeral and that’s all.”

Kingston dropped his head, the look on his face that of a little boy caught in mischief. Doop’s last words made him think of home, of his mother and grandfather. He felt a sadness but now he did not want Doops to stop, nodded his head for him to go on.

“And that’s all I’m talking about,” Doops continued. “Nobody needs nobody when they’re happy. But it just happens. We don’t make it. We don’t make community any more than we make souls. It’s created.”

“And you think we were around somewhere else? Some other time?” Kingston asked, looking at Doops and Model T as one, in a way he had never looked at them before. Neither of them appeared to notice.

“I said the community was around,” Doops said. “Maybe, as you put it, there a neighborhood quiver. And the Great Whoever reaches back and shoots off a dose of community from time to time when one is needed somewhere. When it fits His gameplan. You know, maybe there’s only room in the world for just so many communities. Not souls. Communities. Like, the Lord not only created planets. He created communities. A solar system and a community system. And they go on spinning. All in place. All where they’re supposed to be and when. Each one pushing the other away and holding it close at the same time. And they go on spinning. Different times maybe, but they go on.”

“What’s the difference between a community and a country?” Kingston asked.

“Size,” Doops said. He answered quickly, as if he’d been waiting for the question, wanting it to be asked. “And kings. A community doesn’t have a king, a ruler. Everybody is equal. Now, it might start out as a community. But then somebody wants to improve on it, make it better because it gets bigger. And when it starts choosing captains, whammo! No more community. And that’s when it gets put back in the quiver. Waiting to get reissued.

“Or maybe the difference between a community and a country is that a community has a soul and a country doesn’t. Because God created the community and man created the country. Some king sees all these communities around and says, ‘Hoboy! Let’s put ‘em all together and rule over ‘em.’ And then he promptly f@#%’s it up.”

No one spoke. They sat together in silence, each one staring at the space immediately in front of him.

from “The Glad River” by Will D. Campbell

It took a few minutes to figure out which book this was in and another few minutes to find the right pages, but it was something FirstHusband and I have discussed at length in the past. When a church struggles, it is so heart wrenching. Will it survive and possibly become even stronger? Will it split? Will it die? How, in the process, can God be glorified by the words and actions of those involved?

I’ve written a devotional about a previous church struggle we went through. It’s over on Pragmatic Communion entitled “trials often hide blessings.” Thanks to Mocha with Linda for the devotional’s post title.

I’m sure I’m going to want to find this again, so pardon my “note to self” if you will: found on pages 59-60.

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