Our son Trevor is in the home stretch of getting a degree in audio production at the Art Institute of California Los Angeles. He shared a theory of sound frequency technology that intrigued me. Sound waves have a peak and a valley traveling through our universe from whatever makes the sound to whatever might receive it. Sound waves blend and crash – that makes the beautiful sounds of our world from music to street noise to clanging spoons… Two identical sound waves can cancel themselves out if the peak of one matches the valley of the other. My apologies to Trevor and other experts if I’m wrong about this… but theoretically those sounds, if they are juxtaposed perfectly, would just disappear. Amazing. Theorically possible, practically impossible, he says.
Our search for authentic community seems to have something in common with sound waves. The peaks and valleys I’m thinking about are our needs that range from the quiet, silence of listening to the heart of God, moments of stillness, reflection, and calm on one side of the frequency wave to the hectic, sometimes frantic pace of making a living, keeping up with life, and making a difference in our world (like making an impact on issues like health care, hunger, and immigration). Growing in love of God (personal holiness) and growing in love of neighbor (social holiness) are two integral components, along with making a living and etc., in the beautiful and fruitful life God has in mind for us. Trying to find authentic community with others that are in the same universe seems difficult… finding authentic community with others on the same waveslength? Theoretically possible, practically impossible. Unlike the cancelation theory of sound waves, it’s rather easy for authentic community to be cancelled by our disjointed life frequencies.
Authentic community is a term I resist at first glance. At it’s core, authentic community should mean being authentic as an individual, invested in community with others who can be themselves. It seems hard enough to be true to who you are in a world with endless options and influences. To find, create and sustain a community of sharing, support and accountability with other wave-length travelers… takes some effort. We, in the faith world, call it covenant.
Finding authentic community is hard if you’re just passing through.