The following is a quote from A.J. Swoboda which comes from a post about faith in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a great quote about trying to define what community is:
So then, what is community?
In developing relationships with these people, I’ve developed a theory over the last five years. I may be wrong, but if I’m not, I think I’ve figured out what community is. Community, at its core, is much more simple that we’d expect. Here it is:
Community is what happens when one person reveals himself or herself in relationship to another by sharing their sin, their depravity, their brokenness, their real self, and finds their selves still being loved.
Community is, plainly put, the result of being known and loved at the same time. Think about it. Even if you can’t define community per se, think of one person you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you share community with? Did they see your brokenness and still love you? Did you see theirs and you still love them?
I’ll bet they did and you did.
In a very real way, the opposite of community is the opposite of what I’ve suggested above. To be absent of community is to be known yet not loved at the same time. We would call this isolation, or, possibly, hell.