Sunday, December 23, 2007

Turner and Communitas

Victor Turner wrote extensively about the way in which pilgrimage meant stepping out of regular structures producing a sense of communitas between pilgrims. Communitas is a kind of egalitarian community that occurs when the normal ways of relating including authority structures etc are suspended.

We experienced a little communitas this morning at Ascension when we arrived to discovered the batteries in the thermostat were dead and the furnace in the church hadn't been on for some time. It was icy cold so we moved the service into the hall. The whole feeling of the service changed with people sitting around the tables in a rather oddly shaped circle. People spoke back in the service and everyone seemed in great spirits as we moved books and brought in candles and improvised an altar. What fun!

3 comments:

Tim Chesterton said...

Leaves you wondering why we don't do that all the time, doesn't it??

Erin said...

I suspect though that if we did it all the time it would lose that communitas feeling and find its own structure. But maybe we could find ways to do it more often than just Sunday School picnic and heating problem sundays.

Kevin said...

I just finished reading a book on the house church mov't and the author describes a similar "communitas" as you do, but, for him and the churches he;s involved with, the communitas "feeling" only grows deeper and more complex.

kgp