Life Together

E, it seems in some degrees one question that arises is: how do you build an authentic, lasting Christian community that doesn't exist for its own sake (self-gratifying worship or emotional or physical or whateveral "safe Christian lives") but maintains a vision of kingdom-focused, active relationships that draw others toward Christ? Almost every word in that sentence requires some clear definition if it will actually happen. I know for quite a while you and Brooke have been praying and living with a kingdom-oriented view of redemptive community. The change doesn't necessarily mean the vision is "bad" or "wrong." As Jesus called his disciples into a close and focused community, so too we have not graduated beyond the concept. Even as I have been asking what a community could look like (with a probably more "liberal" definition at the moment compared to what you've been building), I am humbled and staggered at the transience of most of my relationships, local or global. I'm not sure we (the Christian church) are very good at dealing with vulnerability, honesty, or the real, messy lives we lead in ways that allow us to actually get near enough to one another to show or see Christ there over the long haul. How do we build that? How do we live it as a witnessing reflection to the world to prove our Christ is real? Instantly I think: Small groups---everywhere small, vibrant witnessing communities of believers... but I don't know what is best in terms of how to grow, organize or multiply them. I see it in microcosm on campus: small groups that are not connected to a bigger whole become very self-focused and not at all effective in witness. They become (or stay) fairly individualistic as a group--only concerned about their groups' lives and naught beyond their circle. But Jesus didn't create this kind of group! He charged the 12 to "be with Him and to be sent out" (Mark 3) and to be multiplying, replicating the kind of community they learned from Him into lots of other communities that would keep multiplying to the ends of the earth. Somewhere this entails a measure of "organization" to keep a growing vision, rightly centered, but I don't know that a single solitary human leader or head will get it done in the best ways. Puzzled by the conflict of values for the moment, I close here to not spin needlessly on.


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