turn and become like...

I think I'll ask if there are any documents about the beginning of this community, especially the ideals and original purposes of those who started it. This thought came to me as I contemplated origin and "calling back."

I already know there have been several changes over the years that I see as detrimental to the community here. Such as centralizing leadership, denominational affiliation, accumulation of property, increasing collaboration with government organizations (to get funding). Most of these were connected with increasing membership and trying to expand their ministries.

It's interesting how the history seems to follow that of most all organized communities (monastic orders, for example, or Protestant denominations). As they grow in numbers and wealth and influence, there in an increased institutionalization and a decrease in the spirit which inspired the community. These communities usually begin as reform movements (again, going back), then "mature" into almost exactly what they broke away from. It's like the human generations: Each new generation of young people are idealistic, dissatisfied with the compromises and spiritlessness of their parents, but then they get older and degenerate (become "realistic") in the same way so the next generation sees them too as compromised.

Can this be avoided? Can we stay with the originating, inspiring Spirit?

There seems to be a "maturing" or becoming "adult" that sends the Spirit away, or causes the Spirit to flee. A shift towards independence or self-dependence. A "responsibility" that makes it a duty to increase physical and economic security (usually by accumulating wealth and establishing law and authority structures). The drive for "effectiveness" or productivity (which again calls for increased wealth and political power). Jesus preaches against these things, and avoids them. To him, "maturity" seemed to mean something very different:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

And calling to him a child, [Jesus] put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 18.1-3)

I am thirty five, contemplating marriage--the pressure to "be an adult" is huge. It's been conditioned into me; I've been taught to grow up and have been doing that for many years. Just the past five years have I been attempting to "turn and become like children." It's getting harder, not easier.

But this turning back is crucial. Because the Spirit is not with the adult-like, the owners, the authorities, the benefactors, the managers. The Spirit is with the childlike.