Chris emphasises that “The difference between an audience and a community is which direction the chairs are pointing” and it’s a great metaphor.
What though if the chairs or not the same size or shape? It’s all well and good having the chairs facing the same direction, but if they are out of kilter, say some take up more space than others, that is also a barrier to community growth, development and formulating a glue like structure that will bind the different members of that community, no matter for how long.
In Lille over the weekend, we stumbled across a pub called the O’Scotland. This took us alightly aback and caused a bit of amusement, an Irish pub, adorned with the Guinness logos and the familiar black background and gold swirly writing.
For all we knew, the pub might have been run by someone with the surname Scotland of course. However, it tickled that this could be a mock Irish pub which is somewhat geographically confused, in the middle of a French city.
So which of those community chairs isn’t quite facing the right direction? The location of the pub, the name of the pub, the connotations that are derived from a pub calling itself ‘traditionally Irish’? The pub itself will have it’s own community, the guys who drink there regularly, and those who pop in every now and then, and parched tourists. Of those, which community chairs are a bit too big to fit, or so small they get hidden amongst the others, letalone which direction they are facing?
A uniform line of chairs facing the same direction is also restrictive to individuality. If each chair is exactly the same, where is the room to change and adapt whilst being unique within a community? This is what makes communities fascinating and demonstrates the power of the human condition.