It seems that never before has there been a time, like now, when people the world over should genuinely and intentionally commit to maintaining community with their neighbors. It seems that people are more and more likely to not know the folks right next door or even sitting right next to them. This personal knowledge of your neighbor is not for gossiping and it is more than just having the ability to recall their name; it is a personal knowledge of the person under girded with intentional desire for an intimate connection which benefits both persons.
Why is this important? Why should connecting with others in your community be a vital aspect of existence? Because of the disconnect that flows through communities showing (rather revealing) a lack of support given to one another and issues that may face each neighbor directly or indirectly, especially during moments of trial and tribulation. Looking for interpersonal connections to develop in the very area in which one lives may allow for a strong and bonded cohesive unit to coalesce. This emergence of a community may allow for there to be open dialogue between members of the community to build understanding between one another and to possibly share in one another’s hopes and dreams. Also, we get to know what is going on around us and our families if nothing else.
But how else can you build trust for someone that you have not taken the time to get to know? How can we keep our families safe (possibly by even making preemptive moves) if we have no clue what is going on right next to us?
Recently, back in January of this year, an event was put on in a church in Norcross, Georgia, called “Understanding and Answering Islam.” The event was about getting Christians to gaining a better comprehension of the Muslim faith and how to have a civil discourse with a Muslim brother or sister about Christianity and Islam. Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, a Christian apologist with Ravi Zacherias International Ministries, made this statement: “Let’s not just call people the ‘other’, but understand them from their perspective.” Qureshi gave some insight on the importance of not looking at a group as some category in a study somewhere, but remembering that any group, whether they are immigrants or a persons of a different faith, should be still treated as human beings. We should desire to leave our prejudice behind to move forward in solidarity. We may be surprised by how much we have in common with the neighbor next door.
Now, it is important to be realistic about the times that we live in. Many people only have the energy to go to work and to come back home to be with their family. Also, we live in an age when it is of the utmost importance that parents are aware of where their children are and who they are with. These things are reasonable and realistic when it comes to being a bit hesitant with connecting with others, but these things (and any other reasoning outside of your neighbor being dangerous and possibly causing you harm) should not cause total hindrance to connecting with those closest to you in your neighborhood.
Is it possible that we live in a time that communing with others may mean something else? So, it may mean less connecting with other physically and more at the hand of technology! If what is considered as community today stays that way, then can we get it back to a healthier form?