Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Having preached an Acts 4 sermon this Sunday on communism and Christianity, one of the things I encountered in my wanderings through the interwebs researching the somewhat bedraggled state of global Redness was the web presence of the Communist Party in the United States of America. Their yearning for the great uprising of the workers continues, with the website proudly announcing that the rise of socialism as a dominant global system is just around the river bend....juuuust arouuuund the rivrbeeeeeend...
Sigh. It's a little sad.
But of all of the things that struck me in looking through their materials, perhaps the thing that struck me the hardest was that that not a single one of the leaders of the the Communist Party in the United States of America appears to actually be a communist.
I cranked through their bios, and they appear to be an unsurprisingly diverse assemblage of social theorists and big-thinkery folks. They are all, without question, socialists. There is much talk about the need for government intervention to bring about justice for workers and the disenfranchised.
What I did not see, though, came when the bios described how the self-identified leaders of American communism lived. They live with their spouses...but...um...where? In urban areas. But...how? What was lacking was any mention of participation in a collective. Do they share their resources with a group of fellow-travellers, living out the fundamental operating ideal of communism, which is to ACTUALLY LIVE IN A COMMUNE? Oops. Sorry. I seem to have accidentally hit all caps when I mentioned that being an authentic communist requires LIVING COLLECTIVELY ON A COMMUNE.
Oh drat. Did it again. Sorry.
There's no reason you can't be communist in America. None whatsoever. It's a choice that many folks make. In fact, one of the more recent moderators of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA lived in what's called an "intentional community," which is sorta kinda a Christian commune. Monastic communities have always been communist. Living that way requires individual and collective discipline, effort, and organization. It also helps to be governed by an ethic of self-sacrificing love. In the post-worship bible study on Sunday, we talked through some of the challenges and history of such communities, and how their lives together either work or do not work.
But digging through the web presence of the Communist Party in the USA, I just couldn't find any mention of collectivism and communal living. Not a bit. I'm sure it was there somewhere. It just wasn't front and center. Which seems odd, if you call yourself communist.