Monday, March 05, 2007

more on processing stuff in community

I blogged a few days ago on whether we should be more accepting of some people's desire to gain some space away from community to process their stuff - and whether or not people are just wired in different ways: some to work through things in community and some needing to take a step back.
With that in mind it was interesting to read some of Mark Scandrette's thoughts today:

I’ve also noticed the important role community plays in personal health. Often when someone is not doing well mentally, emotionally, spiritually or relationally, they withdraw from the relationships that could give them the most encouragement and accountability. I think you would find, for instance, that long before a couple divorces, they often divorce themselves from the communities that could provide the best support. I’ve wondered if we should more agressively pursue those who withdraw from relationships– since withdrawal is so often a sign of unhealth– even when maintaining such relationships requires conflict.

Read the whole of Mark's post here.

I still don't think I've nailed this one. My natural inclination is to say that, from a point of trinitarian theology, relationships are intrinsic to what it means to be fully human, and to say that sometimes people need to isolate themselves in order to work through difficult times just doesn't ring true. But at the same time we can't force people to open up and share in the context of community. Maybe, Emma and Trefor are right in their comments on my original post - it kinda all depends on what you mean by being in community. Some people can still be connected to and held by the community in some way even if they are not actively opening up and sharing their stuff in that context. But what about when people just 'disappear' for a while?

1 comment:

Naomi said...

this is interesting for me, as a borderline extravert... i think i think that at the very least those having a hard time need to say that they are even if they can't (bear to/ is inappropriate to) share exactly what it is that is bugging them. those in the community they tell have to work at seeing that at the bottow of a black hole, even saying that is a huge emotional effort and while you need to gently invite them to open up further every once in a while, just turning up, like Trefor said, should be good if you aren't given the 9th degree when you do!
and you guys are right - it's up to the community to make safe spaces for opening up too... that's hard work!