Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Return to Community (Part 1)…

By Ricky McCarl

Why is community so important?

I think we fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of community and that leads to people thinking it is something it isn’t or worse that they don’t need it at all because they have Jesus. The problem is that we are taught that our faith is between us and God and that when we get faith in God, He empowers us to do mighty things through the spirit. The sad truth is that people are down right misinformed.

I am reading a book currently called “The Amish Way” which is about Amish beliefs and practices. For those of you who do not know me, the Amish lifestyle intrigues me. The Amish intrigue me because despite their theological issue one thing they do right is biblical community. That is something that I hunger for.
Let me ask you something… If you were to be sick or dying would your church come to your aid? Would you want them too? I remember having a conversation with one of the men in my “flock” who had a son in the hospital for a while. I asked him if he needed anything and his response was no because they were a close knit family. The problem with that was that he was allowing his son’s unbelieving wife and children help him through this and he kept the community of God at arms length.

How about this… Would you want the community of God to discipline you? Some might say that they would but when the time comes what happens is we just hide the sin. The reason for this is because in our churches today we foster an attitude of judgment instead of forgiveness. Wouldn’t it be great if when we were in sin we could go before the church on bended knee, confess our sin and be given absolution? Of course it would!

We desperately need authentic biblical community and the sad truth is that in most churches today we don’t have it. That doesn’t mean we can’t have it though. I think what we need to do is forget about being an individual for once and think about being a part of something bigger. We also need to learn that each and every one of us is totally depraved and no we are not better than the other guy because he sinned and I didn’t, because the truth is that if we are honest we will be just as guilty (we will talk about that another day). If we can do these things then I think we can have biblical community in our churches.

1 comment:

Dan C said...

Good thoughts.

I think one of the things about the Amish is that they need help from each other on a regular basis. They give up powered equipment, so they need strong arms to do the work. Those arms show up with minds, souls, and families. It's easier to connect spiritually when you are rubbing elbows physically.