In this month when we’re thinking about “beloved community” as a theme, RYSEC Leader Jone Lewis will reflect on groups that do not really “gel” as community, though they may look like community on the surface. Kurt Vonnegut gifted us with the term “granfalloon” to refer to groups that organize around a common identity, but where the association is meaningless. Pseudo-community, perhaps similar, is a term popularized by M. Scott Peck, for a group which believes it is a community, in which people are polite, do not overtly disagree, and lack of room for people to express their genuine feelings. There are also cult-like groups that claim to be community, but which are usually organized in an authoritarian way, and in which belonging comes at the cost of personal freedom including freedom of thought.
What does it take to move from a loosely associated group of people to one that is deeper, more meaningful to those involved, not so tightly run that denies individuality? How can we move towards a genuine community, and what are the differences between that kind of association and these others?
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