In-Sight: Community as Purgatory

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?”

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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One Response to In-Sight: Community as Purgatory

  1. barbbeil says:

    Brings to mind your ex-pastor at First Baptist!

    Barb Sent from my iPad

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