Thomas Merton wrote that before a community can be a paradise it must first be a purgatory (Secular Journal, 186).
The first act of living in community is submitting to it–not asking it to submit to you. The person who enters a community saying, “I am here now. Listen up and do what I say,” has no idea what life together is.
Some may call this bold, courageous, or prophetic leadership—but it is actually obnoxious and egocentric. Community must purge this attitude, or the environment will become toxic, dictatorial, and deformative.
Community becomes paradise when love defines relationships and mutual servanthood directs actions—as everyone lives and works with this question guiding them—“What does God want us to do, and how can we work together to do it?”