From Community to Country

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J. Jeff Toler’s article “Does Next Door Make Us Neighbors?” explores the decline of genuine community in modern society, contrasting past neighborly bonds with today’s social fragmentation. Highlighting the impact of immigration and the COVID-19 pandemic, Toler urges a return to traditional values and divine guidance to rebuild true neighborly connections and foster secure, thriving communities.

Does Next Door Make Us Neighbors?

 By J. Jeff Toler for Shenandoah Christian Alliance
  • Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Romans 12:16)

In 2019, I bought a copy of “Them: Why We Hate Each Other, and How to Heal” by New York Times best-selling author, and then Senator, Ben Sasse, R-NE. In “Them,” Sasse describes a time in America that sadly, barely exists anymore. People of his generation (and location) grew up and thrived in a place where people knew each other, generally liked each other, and often looked out for each other. You might remember a place like that yourself.

At one point he writes, “There is a deep and corrosive tribal impulse to act as if ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ But sometimes the enemy of your enemy is just a jackass.” This quote warns us that a sense of loneliness and a need to belong should not lead us to join an anti-tribe, “defined by what we’re against rather than what we’re for.”

Living in a neighborhood like that evokes at least some sense of belonging to and operating within, a common set of values, traditions, and expectations. But do we?

Briarwood, Kentucky, where I live, is a community, to be sure, but it’s impossible for anyone to say that life here today is the same as what many of us over 50 fondly recall, or at least how we want to remember it. Before it disappears altogether, it’s still possible that we can still be neighbors beyond the simple definition of living in close proximity to one another. But, it will require dedication and hard work for that to succeed.

For many of us, defining community like it once was will require a willingness to try and see what it means to depend on our neighbors, to find trust and security in an increasingly hostile and corrosive culture. We might think of it as a safe space for responsible adults.

Recently, we formed a Neighborhood Watch program. This is now what passes for community, when community is on its last legs.

 One time, mid-summer, our neighbors in the condominium association decided to put on a BBQ picnic for no better reason than to just sit down together to a meal with friends and family; but just as importantly, with people we barely knew at all. For those who attended it was a wonderful experience. Without exception, all of us agreed we wanted to do it again. But we never did.

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The following March everyone was plunged into the upheaval of the COVID pandemic. It was then, that community died. This was when it seemed, to me at least, that the popular phrase, “we’re all in this together” became truly contrived and cynical.

The loss of community is a precursor to the loss of our minds.

Much of the problem of not understanding with what’s making America so deeply divided, is the engineering of the migrant resettlements, and those at an historically unprecedented pace. Because the numbers are so absolutely astonishing it’s difficult even to find parallels, let alone solutions. 

Initially, we could have seen what was happening in Europe, but the leadership there failed to cope with it. Most migrants aren’t here to become a part of the existing community. Most prefer the community they bring with them—their own “tribe.” Often, they are here for the advancement of their own politico/religious beliefs—a conquest by invasion. [] Produced by J. Jeff Toler, this 2016 video, “Hijra: Invasion in the Twenty-First Century,” has proved both timeless and prophetic as we now see from the tumult caused by the Biden regime’s open border policy. Only now is Europe beginning to see how wrong they were in not stopping it.

To explain why the loss of community found in the Genesis account (Genesis 11:1-9) is so significant, is to understand the implications found in the story of the Tower of Babel. Extra-biblical traditions identify Nimrod as the ruler who commissioned its construction. Our Creator found it necessary to intervene—even severely—when Nimrod convinced the people under his rule, were as sufficient as God. It was then that humans were scattered around the world. Nimrod’s was a coerced community—which frankly, is the worst kind.

Another story in the Bible is the story of Jacobs’ ladder. In this story God gave Jacob a vision of great staircase coming down from Heaven. “And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!” (Genesis 28:12) It was God who provided the means necessary to link Himself to man—the best community—as opposed to the men of Babel. “These two passages of Scripture reflect differing schools of thought over the issue of salvation: One group tries to reach heaven based on their own actions aside from God’s help, but the other group has access to heaven based on the provisions of God and only the provisions of God.” []

What’s interesting is how these Bible verses can be explained even from a secular, philosophical understanding of the aspiration to reach God only by our own power and might—like the Tower of Babel. Its construction represents a collective assertion of authority over the natural order with the alternative God provides for us to reach Him. 

Jacob’s Ladder, on the other hand, is the connection between heaven and earth symbolizing a divine order to which we might can aspire but never fully control on our own. “Not by power, not by might, but by my spirit.”

Today, the loss community can be explained by how we have surrendered to the forces of a secular/humanist power to overwhelm our communities of family, faith, and civics. The irony is how, in working their plan, they require deep divisions promoted as “protecting democracy,” seeking equity, diversity, and most ironically, inclusion.

In the battlefield of this election year, we find ourselves struggling to overcome one force by the power of another force. Only the wise, the serious, and the dedicated servant of God will—in community with each other—be able to know the right force to ally with, and then to act accordingly.

There is nothing commonplace about community. It was from a community of gentlemen farmers, statesmen, and intellects, that a mighty and powerful nation was born. My hope and prayer today, July 4, 2024, all communities across the land will be safe, secure, and prosperous under God’s protection. 


Photo by Jeff Toler
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

About the Author

Shenandoah Christian Alliance
Shenandoah Christian Alliance is a Christian organization devoted to the promotion and education of biblical truths, faith, and spiritual equipping. We believe in the sanctity of marriage as defined in God’s revealed word. We oppose the practice of abortion, and respectfully object to its funding and facilitation as currently promoted by our elected leaders. We understand homosexuality to be something that God—whom we worship and honor—does not approve among his creation. Our faith in God as revealed in scripture is not something we are ashamed of, or for which we must apologize.