(This is a watercolor and ink on Arches 300 lb c/p watercolor cotton rag paper, 10"x14" (25.5cm x 35.5cm), depicting the Northern Lights with moon and stars. It is sold and has been shipped to its home in New Zealand.) Is it possible for people to just gather as a community without investing the community with its own self-image? Is it possible for a community to be completely free of vision? I'm not sure. I tried. I had to quit the last community I oversaw when I realized the tide had turned against this. Some people might argue that my idea for a community to have no vision is in itself a vision. I disagree. Lincoln infuriated his critics by saying things like, "My policy is to have no policy." One could argue that his idea was a policy. But his point was that he really didn't have a policy. So when I say a church is healthiest without vision, I mean it purely and simply. I issue a warning: As soon as a community forms and formulates an ideal of itself, this ideal takes on a personality that demands to be nourished and sustained. It will eventually require a global sovereignty over the members of that community. Even if it is a humble and noble ideal, it will enforce the same demands. The result is that the formulated ideal of community becomes the reference through which relationship is conducted. The direct authenticity of relationship between the members is compromised. The community has become artificial. I think many people have become wise to this, perhaps without knowing it. They are now suspicious of any religious community because of the rampant insidiousness of vision in communities they have experienced.
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