What is a Faith Community? One Guy’s Opinion!

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Christian Community is the moment in time and space where divine hospitality reigns. Where we are greeted by those who will wash our feet, feed our hunger, quench our thirst, visit us in our prison cells. Christian Community breaks down – privacy fences, attached garages, and our consumerism…replaces it with interdependency (not co-dependency). It is a place where our shortcomings are celebrated and covered through other’s strengths. It is a place where others sit in our brokenness – not to fix us but to be present with us. It is a place where we declare the world is better because their is another voice at the table, another perspective on the Text, another prayer being issued.

Christian Community is a place that confessions are heard, accepted, and forgiven. Where wounds are given an opportunity to heal in the healthiest of ways. Where life is life because it is lived in the midst of others. Christian Community is a place where Christ always stands central to the ways in which we see one another, care for one another, love one another.

Christian Community can’t be defined by comparing gatherings of people but rather it is defined by the unity of mind, soul, and strength in being bent towards G_d with one another. Not going it alone – instead going it as the people of G_d ushering forward the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.

We do this by being present – fully present – with one another. Time and Space are two areas we are taught are ours to manage and guard – it is only when we are willing to give these away to the others around us…to give them up by welcoming others in…that we will ever begin to taste community. Hospitality is the idea that what is mine, is made better when you are present.

What would you add?

Dog Bones, Dysfunctional Families, and Foundations

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It seems to me that every day there is a new battle over old doctrine! Like a dog with a bone, no regard is paid to whether there is any value to that which we cling so tightly – just that someone tossed it to us! I am certain that much of what I believe and am learning is not complete – and very well may even be wrong – but I hold to the notion that it is better to be wrong and learning than to be right and have never learned. Is this wrongheaded? I am not sure. I believe the Text supports this notion as the great men and women of our faith are captured for all of history in the pages of our most Sacred Text with their proverbial (and often literal) pants around their ankles.

A battle rages on within the church for certainty – ironically we call this sought after certainty “Faith.” I’m not sure how we marry these mindsets, but much like the detached and uninterested family center in our culture we feel at home with the dysfunction of faith and certainty as our illegitimate parents. Parents raising a child lost in shuffle of appeasing one without upsetting the other: this is the church.

When fighting to return the family of G_d to a more healthy relationship we are often faced with the opposition of those not wanting to give up the dysfunction – the dysfunction that has become home and comfortable…anything that challenges what is known – even if it is a call for more and better – becomes the enemy. A home wrecker!

We forget the importance of checking the foundation – peeling back different layers and top soil to ensure that it is good and stable. When we find that some of the foundation is cracked or bad, we shouldn’t assume that the entirety needs replaced in the same way that we can’t be sure that the entire foundation is safe by only looking at one or two things. Pulling away the soil is difficult work and sometimes it is done just to see that everything is fine! Isn’t it better to check than to hope that all is well with that which we are building upon?

To tell someone that they should consider ongoing preventative maintenance on their goods does not get as great of a result as the immediacy of response when said thing becomes broken or destroyed…then the pieces seem too many and the hope of rebuilding seems too great. If we’d only be a people that didn’t like to drink the cocktail of certainty and faith…rather we’d recognize it as the Molotov that it is…explosive and dangerous, destructive and violent, arrogant and belligerent.

We need to be a people that embraces uncertainty and align that with our Faith…investigate our foundations – celebrating when they are good and strong, swiftly moving when discovered to be shaky and deteriorating. We need those who are willing to pull back the soil and reveal our foundations…to question their strength…to encourage their maintenance…to help where needed.