Community and Literature

Been reading (or rather listening to) Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. And in the middle of some out-of-place pontificating, one of the characters makes this statement:

A stranger is shot in the street; you hardly moved to help. But if, half-an-hour before, you spent just ten minutes with the fellow and knew a little about him and his family, you might just jump in front of his killer and try stop it.

I thought this was a powerful statement about community, because there’s a lot of truth in it. This is something our world desperately needs. We need to get to know each other; we need to be in each other’s lives. A lot of people are beginning to figure this out and it makes me sad that people who say they follow Jesus are so slow on the uptake. Even thought Jesus talked about it a lot.

I was reading a little Beat Generation literature (Jack Kerouac) and one of the very few redeeming things in it was the sense of community they aspire to. In On the Road, Kerouac writes,

Everywhere I went, everyone was in it together.

Of course, in the end, all of these men are ultimately as selfish as they can be, so the community thing kind of goes out the window, but it’s a nice idea.

Kind of like it is in our lives today.

I guess this is another case of mea culpa. I better get off my ass and do something about it if I’m going to talk about it.


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