Community can be defined in many different ways, which makes coming to some sort of decision about its inherent nature a bit challenging. (Just try reading the Wikipedia entry on community!) Scott Peck, one of favorite authors from long ago — Road Less Traveled — wrote a whole book on community building — The Different Drum, Community Making & Peace. He has this great quote about the value of community but obviously it applies to a narrow def’n.
First from Wikipedia …
Definitions of community as “organisms inhabiting a common environment and interacting with one another,” while scientifically accurate, do not convey the richness, diversity and complexity of human communities. Their classification, likewise is almost never precise. Untidy as it may be, community is vital for humans. M. Scott Peck expressed this in the following way: “There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.”
From this it is clear that the concept of the individual is not and cannot ever be separated from the concept of community. Without the primary community of our family, or the secondary communities discussed above, we could not develop stable personalities as individual human beings. This conveys some of the distinctiveness of human community.
“Community is and must be inclusive. The great enemy of community is exclusivity. Groups that exclude others because they are poor or doubters or divorced or sinners … are not communities; they are cliques — actually defensive bastions against community.” ~ M. Scott Peck