The thing you have wanted the most has taken your liveliness and the heart beat of the Church from us.
An Englishman I know grew up in a very small village in Yorkshire. He says the most striking quality of the town and the thing he misses most, was the feeling of being known there. So many of us want back the more intimate sense of community, the one where the grocer knew our name and the butcher could comment on meat and life.
Yet even as we hate being unknown to each other, we want anonymity. It’s this ambivalence that confounds our quest for community. There are three things we cherish in particular – mobility, privacy, and convenience. It all leads to a kind of airline stewardess syndrome – smiling warmly at strangers as you part after a few hours, or minutes, as if you had shared the intimacy of a lifetime. Though mobility has made a major contribution to the decline of neighborhood life, or our community of place, it’s had help from our love of privacy.” Ralph Keyes, March 1976