Restoring Community - Part I

I’ve been reading a book by Shane Claiborne entitled The Irresistible Revolution (book review coming as soon as I actually finish it) and many thoughts have begun to swirl in my head, literally keeping me up at night. Among them is this concept of community that keeps coming back to me over and over. Claiborne is a co-founder of a group called The Simple Way. What attracts me to this group is their desire to practically live out what it means to be a follower of Christ, and therefore to be the Church. For them, it involves sharing their resources, viewing each other as family, seeing everyone around them (and around the world) as dear friends and creations of God and seeking to treat and serve them as such, standing up against injustices carried out against these friends and family, and worshiping God and growing deeper with Him, together.

To me, that’s what community is all about. We were created to be relational, and we were created to be in community. I long for true community in my church. I desire to live out community in our world. Dick Staub talks about being ambassadors and building bridges. Another book I recently read, Same Kind of Different As Me, also discusses what it means to live the Gospel and intentionally seek relationships. Blogs like Charity’s are challenging me to evaluate how good a steward I am of every aspect of my life. My thoughts are churning: where do I go from here?

I’m considering what all of this means in terms of outreach, and I have some thoughts I’ll share later on that. What strikes my heart deeply today is how can I effect transformation in my local church? Don’t get me wrong; I love my church. I love our vision of being authentic Christians. I admire our pastor who continually challenges us to live as followers of Christ, covered in the dust of our Rabbi. But true community has to come out of more than just a great vision statement or an inspiring sermon. I appreciate what Shane Claiborne has done in creating a new community. His efforts have begun a movement that is spreading across this country (and the world). I think that’s wonderful, and I hope it continues to do so. At the same time, I believe that same kind of community can - and must - occur through transforming the existing church. I firmly believe the church I attend can become that kind of community. The million dollar question I’m pondering, of course, is how.

LINKED to this Post: Pat's comments on Why didn't you warn me?

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