Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | October 2, 2011

ko- (together) munus (service, gift)

More about what ties us together

Today we celebrated World Communion Sunday. Communion, communication, community all derive from the same root as common which comes from Latin, ko meaning together and munus meaning service or give. So you can think about communion being the gift we receive together or the gift we give to each other. Same with communication. Listening and speaking/writing/signing are or can be gifts we give each other and services we render to each other. And community? What is your community? Who makes up your community?

My community is many and varied. I am in a family community, made of my nuclear family of 4, my parents, my brothers and their wives and children. Then we can add in aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. Even the in-laws. Do we all agree? Yeah, what do you think?

I am in two book clubs, one in real life and one on-line. The real life one varies from about 6 to 10 people; the on-line community numbers in the hundreds although many just lurk. Do we all like the same books, agree about the same ideas? Um, no. Not at all.

I am a member of the BettyVerse. How are we all alike? We practice, or try to practice Universal Positive Regard, but I suspect we span a wide range of ages, race, country, beliefs, etc.

I am in a church which has about 750 members. Do I agree with them all? Hah, it is to laugh.

I am part of the community of women which numbers in the billions. What do we all have in common? What beyond that we all identify as women. And maybe not even that.

I am a member of the human race. What do we have in common? We live, we breathe, we eat and drink, we love and are loved, we hate and are hated, we die. But, we are a community. If we forget that we are a part of a larger community and simply identify ourselves as a member of a small and exclusive group, we forget our humanity. Our smaller communities are important pieces of ourselves, key ingredients that make up the person that is you or me, but they are not the whole of us. Those threads that connect us to those who are not like us may be thin and tenuous and may be denied by those others or us, but if we forget them, or deny them, we deny the wholeness that is humanity. Flawed, problematic, irritating, infuriating, kind, loving, frustrating humanity.

World Communion Sunday celebrates the communion of believers around the world, but it is a reminder that we are a part of a larger communion than just that of believers. Who is in your community?



  1. I am a huge fan of acknowledging how much more alike we are than how we all differ. I like the idea of our commun-ing with each other. 😉

    My communities are:
    ~fam, us Pentacle People
    ~extended fam (many with the same last name and very strong genetics)
    ~town (Eugene is an odd place, but we like it that way)
    ~state (Oregon, also odd)
    ~writer/blogger (since we lost the Betty forum I don’t have a book group any longer)
    ~American (sometimes not so proud)
    ~sisterhood of moms
    ~and after that, same as you.


    • I know I left some out – like where I live, and sisterhood of moms is a good one. I really liked the etymology of common – gifts we give to each other.

  2. interesting thoughts, Karen! I think I have pretty much the same communities as the two of you. I attended an episcopal church for many years and one of the things I loved about it was the sense of people doing the same thing with even the same words not only in geographically diverse places but also back through time. The tricky thing about that is to not value it in an exclusive way, a way that creates more us vs. them boundaries, but just for what it is– one of my many communities. And at that particular church, it was one of open arms– open to any who wanted to join us.

    • I so agree! What I really like about my church is the great sense of community within the church as well as the sense of community in that we are part of the whole world, Christian or not, that we are all connected to each other.

  3. You are also a member of the SCNa (Syncretic Church of Non-asshats). No two members worship alike — but they are all part of a community of non-asshats.

    Inclusiveness would derail wars before they go started, In my never-humble opinion. Good post!

    • Praise from the Fokker is praise indeed! Glad you think I belong in the SCNa. It’s so very easy to think one does belong there, when, in fact, everyone else is thinking “asshat!” every time one’s mouth opens.

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