Community and Growth

Jean Vanier in his book, “Community and Growth”, he states;

“Communities need tensions if they are to grow and deepen. Tensions come from conflicts within each person – conflicts born out of a refusal of personal and community growth, conflicts between individual egoisms, conflicts arising from a diminishing gratuite, from a class of temperaments and from individual psychological difficulties. These are natural tensions. Anguish is the normal reaction to being brought up against our own limitations and darkness, to the discovery of our deep wound. Tension is the normal reaction to responsibilities we find hard because they make us feel insecure. We all weep and grieve inwardly at the successive deaths of our own interests.

. . . When everything is going well, when the community feels it is living successfully, its members tend to let their energies dissipate, and to listen less carefully to each other. Tensions bring people back to the reality of their helplessness; obliging them to spend more time in prayer and dialogue, to work patiently to overcome the crisis and refind lost unity; making them understand that the community is more than just a human reality, that it also needs the spirit of God if it is to live and deepen.

I am told that there is a Chinese word for ‘crisis’ which means ‘opportunity and danger’. Every tension, every crisis can become a source of new life if we approach it wisely, or it can bring death and division.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

My long time associate Damalie Namale says it this-a-way… “Growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum.”

Two of the main ingredients for growth and maturing, are conflict and community. These also are two things many of us would like to avoid. We don’t like to potential exposure community brings, or the conflicts. We would like things to just go smoothly all the time… no problems… a vacuum.

We are not designed that way. We are designed to live in the tension. We don’t grow on cruise control.

BH/ Source: Jean Vanier

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