Monday, January 07, 2008

Shopping for community


We are all defined by our experiences of life in one way or another we are shaped by what we go through. Church experience has shaped me and my own outlook on how I should live and what sort of community I like to experience.

There is still something in me that thinks this could all still be a little consumeristic. Someone could say "I don't like large gatherings therefore I choose to go to small" others could say "I want a large worship service", others " I prefer Anglican comunion" etc...we are all looking for the community that fits us best!

Shopping for community. Would that be to strong? Does it matter?

I am sure Bonhoeffer had something to say on this but it alludes me...

Kiwi Paddy said "Isn't it interesting that people often ask 'what church do you go to?' instead of 'what community are you a part of?" it is very interesting.

Does even asking that community question create lines and borders that weren't meant to exist?

On a macro level I am part of the church, the worldwide body. On a micro level I explore that membership in a small community here in Ibiza.

What matters? Is it the size of our congregation, the amount of people that turn up on a Sunday morning? I personally don't think so.

It's got to be about our community footprint, how many lives outside of our christian communities are we touching and influencing, thats the big question.

In fact that would be a missional question. Maybe not even how many lives are we touching but more like what is the quality of the life we are living and the lives we are touching. How effective are we at engaging with the world outside our walls?

If in the end the big thing, the large church or even the small community starts to restrict the our impact on the world outside our walls then something is the matter. If small communities become insular and overly populated by a specific people group who are all just friends we can become comfortable and ineffective. If the large gathering is so programme orientated and time commitment focussed that it leaves us no time to live and love in the world it will also be ineffective.

A possible reorientation is needed, monsters have been created that need to change. Can we change them without being accused of deconstructionalism. Why is deconstructionism such a difficult word for the church to get it's head around.

Maybe it's because it can occasionally focus on pulling down and changing without offering viable alternatives, what do we do once we have stripped everything bare and are left with a nicely deconstructed world?. We shouldn't be frightened of that, but at the same time I like a man with a plan.....

The world we live in isn't decontructed there is sizeable change afoot but people like structure even in a loose form.

I feel I am not really answering questions here, just thinking out loud

1 comment:

kiwipaddy said...

again, great thoughts ... finding the blogs on community really interesting, engaging and challenging. just throwing a book out there if you are interested: community & growth by jean vanier (founder of l'arche community).

I think the issue of more labels and divisions is an interesting one. personally, I believe that the church we go to or community we belong to should be incidental to our core identity as Christians ... but then I always have been idealistic and I wonder if we have gone too far to reclaim the unity of the early church.

I'm not looking back to the good old days because I believe that church should be open to renewal and change ... but I don't believe that diversity should necessitate division either.