Friday, September 16, 2011

When Communities Lose Their Souls.

When I was flying back from Atlanta to Portland, I began thinking about what has happened to our communities nowadays. The word community is actually borrowed from a German word gemeinde with the root gemeinschaft which means a natural bond of confreres or compeers.  Healthy people will build a healthy community and healthy communities will build a healthy city. Healthy cities will build a healthy country and healthy countries will build a healthy and happy world. In most communities nowadays, one is not safe. There is infighting and actually people rejoice when they hear that evil has befallen their associate. In a small city in Mexico, the drug dealers have taken upon themselves to decimate the community by making it lawless and inhabitable.  In local groups where we cannot physically kill, we kill via hatred-assassination of character even those we have no beefs with. Do you think our communities still have their souls?

From creation, God had seen the importance of a community when the Bible says “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”(Gen 2:18). Thenceforth, he blessed man to fulfill the sanction of multiplication. Adam and Eve formed their bond and established a community until the serpent lured Eve into sin and damnation. Thus the major characteristic of a community is cohesion. Thereafter, there has been a perpetual struggle to build lasting and joyful communities.  Good communities do not only speak the same language, have the same settlement, but they have a common goal-the development of their community. Some years ago, most people could boast of belonging to healthy communities, but it will be difficult to make the same claims today.

In the 90s, there were some churches back in Cameroon that no pastor wanted to pastor because not only the Christians, but the elders were difficult to lead. When I moved to the US, I visited a church, and the pastor at the time told the congregation that they should pray that he will stay because he realized most of their pastors did not last for more than two years. The Christians and the elders too were a thorn in the flesh. How do they hold their own Bibles when they are reading it that they do not see love for mankind or respect for the pastor or at least the warning not to touch God’s anointed I always thought.

Early March this year, I read an article of a Mexican city that did not have a police chief because no one wants to take the job for fear they are killed by the drug lords. A young 21 year old lady took the job and with numerous threats to her life, she caved in and fled to the US where she filed for asylum. Evil usual does not strike too far. Just of recent in one of our Manyu groups, they wanted a new leader to replace the current who is leaving, but no one was ready to replace him. 

 Anytime it happens that no one wants to lead a group or community, it simply means that community has lost or is losing its soul. Whether they agree or not, the truth is that the bond has been broken, and the cohesion made porous. Many people have lost their character; and very few think about doing what is right. Keeping promises has become a joke and treating people with dignity and respect a thing of the past. Leaders are voted or selected not by competence but by nepotism and who can slander best. The people have become more detached from one another although in the same community especially with the influx of new gadgets, technology that facilitates migration, religions that preach bigotry and intolerance and commerce where making profits outweighs the uberrima fides to satisfy the consumers.     

For us to build healthy communities, we must reestablish the notion of neighborhoods. That is; loving your neighbor as yourself. Another example of communities that have lost their souls is what is happening to the black communities in Chicago, Baltimore and New York where they kill each other more than what happens in a war zone. Those communities have lost their souls. In most of those communities, they are happy to hear that evil has befallen one of  theirs. They boast and trump their chests for their downfall and for those who have not fallen they strive, connive and collude to bring them down. Just because they brought someone down does not mean they are climbing up, or just because someone we do not like falls, does not mean we are rising. It does not change our social stratum and may never change. 

To build a good community now, we must accept that people will come from all over the place and settle with us; some will speak our language and others will not. Those who do not speak the language owe themselves the debt of learning the language to facilitate their integration, but they are not outsiders or enemies in the house. No society can live without conflicts ,but we must learn to minimize our conflicts and then learn how to resolve them without resurrecting the bygones in the present and transposing them into the future.

We cannot be happy to hear that our neighbor’s teenage daughter is pregnant, or that that guy in our community lost his job. We cannot jubilate that our neighbor is foreclosing, or that the tornado wiped out the secretary’s house, but she did not have insurance. We cannot neglect our neighbor who is on drugs, or should we dance when we hear that people are divorcing.

Any community that still enhances the cast system will not be cohesive. We must go back to the basic of family and rebuild our families. It is time to call our relatives and talk with them, pay them visits, greet a neighbor and put a smile on their face. It is high time we spend less time on social media and watching TV rather than doing things with our families. Divorce should not become the mode for there is never a time that the sommum bonum of divorce outweighs the supreme good of marriage. The residual effects of divorce linger far longer than we underestimate.  It is high time for people to know that we can be of different religions and still live together happily and form a great community. The people in your community are your neighbors, and you must love them as you love yourself. It is your responsibility to protect their interest and to seek their good and happiness.

Until then, let us build healthy communities.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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