Building community through shared labour

SublimeI’ve just come across the March 2007 edition of Sublime Magazine, “a bi-monthly international lifestyle magazine with ethical values and intelligent content.” It contains an interview with Tobias Jones (pictured) author of Utopian Dreams, an account of the year he spent living in communes and amongst unusual dreamers:

Tobias Jones

Has this experience made you more religious or less? In the book you often refer to the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was a proponent of ‘religionless Christianity’…

I would try to talk less about it now and do it more. More than 99% of church services are theory; community is the practice.

So what is the glue that binds a community together?

Everyone from St Bendict to Simone Weil hassaid that the spiritual core of any communiy has to be physical labour. When you put your own body intot he circuitry, that is the point when amazing things happen. I regret that I don’t work alongside the people I worship alongside. If there’s no shared labour, no pulling the plough in the same direction we’re in trouble.

This does all sound rather nice but is reminsent of Tolstoy’s communistic Christianity and as such feels a little…dated? unrealistic?

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