141 – Ageism and membership
How will age affect the process of entering the community?
While in many entries there has been discussion of this there should be a clarity of what it means to ‘enter’ the community. In many communes, monastic groups around the world there are full-time members living in the community perpetually, there are transitionals (laypersons), novices, candidates and even, pilgrims etc. Depending on the type and beliefs of the group in question.
In fact the monastic orders of old were in a constant state of change due to changing ideas of what it meant to be a monk, philosopher or aesthetic.
It seems universal though that a lifetime membership should be just given out to people on a whim, a layperson can help at can be someone of any age giving up their limited leisure time if they believe in the community, or a student could be a transitional merely at the community to obtain experience and an education.
Someone deciding to move into the community on a permanent basis must be firstly old enough to by civil law to leave home or in foster situations, orphaned etc.
While it is not the intention of the community to become another foster system for the plight of abandoned children following the reasons for founding the community, every provision must be made in such circumstances, where possible, in final analysis no child should ever be abandoned.
Similarly someone who wishes to join at an advanced age and brings a huge wealth of experience, or a dedicated effort into the community exceptions can and should be made. Essentially ageism should not blind us to all prescriptive members.
All decisions (as stated in e108) should go through a group selection committee.
**Addendum: Members should go through a lengthy novice and training period to ensure that they will be happy within the community in the long run.