How does the Benedictine value of Community relate to individual isolation? And/or how does the Benedictine value of Respect for Persons relate to poverty and inequality?
According to the Benedictine Rule 4-Respect for Persons you are to "Honor everyone and never do to another you do not want done to yourself." Recognizing the image of God in each person and honoring each one in their giftedness and limitations. If, in fact, we are practicing excessive individualism then this is directly related to poverty and inequality today.
Poverty in the United States "officially" refers to people who fall below the "official poverty line." In general, however, poverty is a complex subject that depends not only on official definitions but on the perspectives of people as well. For example, if we were to look at the actual numbers of poor people, we may find that whites have a lower proportion of people in poverty than other racial groups. But if we looked at poverty solely by age we would find that children under the age of 18 are the most likely to be poor and that many of the elderly live only slightly above the poverty line.
By practicing excessive individualism we are promoting inequality. We are keeping one group of people at a particular level by having those who have the most power and money make the rules for those in a less favorable position. Individualism also keeps us from feeling obligated to others and when we feel no obligation we are less likely to help someone in need. In addition when we feel no obligation we also feel no sense of community and this will eventually lead to isolation. We need to realize that we cannot survive on our own, we need others in order to survive and thrive.
If we were to follow the Benedicitine rule of Respect for Persons there would be no poverty because you would not want to be in poverty yourself and there would be no inequality, as you would not want to be unequal.