Communities of Innocence

We need help realizing, remembering, connecting with, and living out of the heart of what matters most.

Yet, that’s the first thing to go—our connection with the heart of what matters most.

We need a community to help us nourish, enable, sustain, and deepen our relationship with the heart of what matters most. We need a community to help us remember what is important, and to insert itself between us and the loss of our connection with heart/mind/soul. The type of community I have in mind is a community of innocence—a community with no agenda beyond enabling its members to see, hear and understand, know, do and be.

We need a community of innocence to help us know, and remember, who we are, and also are, and what we are about—to perceive, and live in light of, our particular gifts, our genius, daemon, shtick, virtues, etc., in offering what is needed in each situation as it arises for as long as we are alive. We need a community that believes in the power of individuals living in light of their own destiny, and out of the interests and abilities they have to realize and serve that destiny—which is nothing less than the power to transcend, transform, revitalize and redirect the world toward how things need to be and away from how things need-not to be.

And, who is to say? Who is to say what needs and needs-not to be? No one! No one says so! Everyone remains empty, still, and silent long enough to realize so, to know so, out of the depths of their own source, which is the same depths as everyone’s source. When we live connected to and directed by the source of our life and being, we move sincerely, spontaneously, toward how things need to be and away from how things need-not to be. And connecting us with the source is the work of all true communities of innocence.

When we lose the connection with the community of innocence, we lose heart/mind/soul, we lose our bearings, we lose our way, we forget who we are and what we are about, and we take a reckoning and conclude it’s hopeless, and we are overwhelmed with the pointlessness of it all, and wonder, at the bottom of the solid rock wall of reality, why pick ourselves up and run full bore into it again—asking ourselves the questions that kill our heart/mind/soul: “So what? Who cares? What’s the point? What’s the use? Why try? What difference will it make?” When that is the case with us, we need a place where we can gather to recover, to regroup, to restore our heart/mind/soul—a place of renewal, revival, resurrection—a place where we remember, and reconnect with, the core of what matters most. We cannot find our way heartfully, mindfully, soulfully, joyfully, through the world without a place like this in our lives. We cannot survive apart from a vital connection with a community of innocence.

Communities of innocence have nothing at stake in us beyond enabling us to be who we need to be in fulfilling our destiny, and bringing forth who we are within the context and circumstances of our lives. Communities of innocence are a means to the goal of individuation, self-realization, self-development, of their members and of the world. Communities of innocence do their work by listening us to the truth of who we are, and also are—by seeing us, hearing us, understanding us—thereby assisting us in the work of seeing, hearing, and understanding ourselves, and take up the work of balance and harmony, sincerity and integrity, spirit, energy and vitality. Communities of innocence bring to our awareness the full range of conflicts, contraries, dichotomies, discrepancies, and contradictions, that characterize our lives—and assist us in the work of reconciliation and integration. Communities of innocence connect us with what matters most, and help us bring that forth in our lives.

The rule is simple: Don’t allow the world to determine your response to the world! Our response to the world has to spring from our connection with our original nature and the innate virtues that are ours from birth, with our heart/mind/soul and with the center of what matters most. We have to live in the world as we would live if the world were what it ought to be. We take a step toward the ought-to-be when we live in light of it. We nudge the world toward transformation when we live in the world as expressions of how the world should be. We are to live in ways that bring hope, and wholeness, and joy to life. To live in ways that bring life to life. And we have to form communities of innocence which enable us to do this, to be who we are within the circumstances of each situation as it arises, all our life long.

We seek out, and help create, communities of innocence to assist us in remembering who we are and what we are about. These gatherings help us maintain our focus on what is important, and remind us to live in ways that bring hope, wholeness, joy, and life to life in our lives, and in the life of the world. And so, the search for those who will gather with us, and help us remember what matters most, and to live as though it does.

Did you think these things depend upon something else, something other than us? Did you think we are all waiting for deliverance from the outside? From the Great Beyond? That one day there will be a Great Getting’ Up Morning, dawning with a trumpet blast, and a mighty army of angels come to set things right? Did you think it’s all dismay and gloom until the magic hour when “the god of the machine” comes whizzing in on the greased cable to whack the bad guys a good one and set the world back on course? There will be no apocalyptic reversal. The tools that will do the turning are the communities of innocence that restore our heart/mind/soul, and the heart/mind/soul of the world.

It comes down to what we take seriously. Paul Watzlawick wrote a book in the eighties entitled, The Situation is Hopeless, but not Serious. It would be good for us to remember the phrase. We are forever giving up hope in situations that are not serious. We are defined by what we take seriously. How do we know that the seriousness with which we regard things is justified? What makes us think it’s hopeless and serious? That hopelessness is serious?  What are the truly serious things?

I hope laughter is on your list. I hope you are serious about laughing. And playing. And working something you love into every day. And having a good time. And being good company. I hope you take being good company seriously, and practice it with all your determination and resolve. And, being around good company. I hope you take seriously the importance of seeking out good company, and spending time there. And living with good faith. I hope you take good faith seriously.

We come together to remember the essential things, and to remind one another to act them out in the world: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Generosity, Self-Control, along with Compassion, Hospitality, Grace, Humility, Awareness, Trust, Hope, Faith. . . The list goes on.

These are the things that matter most, the things we gather to remember. If we come together and are re-oriented in the direction of these things; if we leave better able to laugh, and be good company, and seek good company, and do what we love, and serve the wonderful old values, we will have all that we need to extend the power of our communities of innocence, and carry that power over into all our lives. Then we will be able to plant such communities of innocence throughout our days, and that will be quite enough to save the world by waking it up to who it is to be, and what it is to be about, who it needs to be and what it needs to be about.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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