Thursday, October 16, 2008

True Community

A recent reading of Larry Crabb’s, Becoming a True Spiritual Community, combined with a four day long retreat attempting to apply this book, along with repeated hearings of the soundtrack to the Buffy episode: Once More With Feeling, converged to become a deep contemplation of the way church fails to be what it was created to be.
Morgan Scott Peck in his book, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, describes a four stage process of becoming a True Community:
Pseudo-Community: everyone plays nice and only show their good side.
Chaos: people become comfortable enough to be real with each other. At this stage, leadership is tempted to organize and keep the interaction under control. If this is done, the group will become an organization and not a true community.
Emptiness: the group stops trying to fix and heal each other, and begin to accept each other’s brokenness leading to…
True Community: a place of true respect and awareness of each other’s needs.
This sounds a lot like what Crabb is after in a spiritual community. It is also quickly evident that most churches today are firmly stuck in Pseudo-Community, and those that have moved on are merely Organizations.
The Church is not an Organization. Those that are, are less the Body of Christ and more akin to any other human club. Clubs can be built around any common interest, including God. However, if we really want to experience the miraculous coming together that Jesus intended the Church to be, we need to do things differently. It is not enough to have a common understanding, a place to meet and rules to follow. In fact, there may be something to the idea of tossing all three of those ingredients out.
But that is another ball of wax…

8 comments:

  1. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on that whole other ball of wax.

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  2. Hehehe

    Not sure I should go there really but fundamentalism, brick and mortar issues, and legalism could each support their own blog of thought entirely don't you think?

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  3. I love this and have forwarded it on to a couple of people.

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  4. Whoa. You mean you all actually discussed and tried to apply the book? I must have missed that part of the meeting ... maybe it was hidden somewhere in the 'keep your pants zipped' lecture from leadership or the 'kumbaya' worship songs ... dunno.

    My small-group was good, tho.

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  5. No, anonymous, we didn't actually discuss the book. I also didn't use or get asked any of the lets-get-to-know-each-other questions.

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  6. alrighty then - Best movie you've seen recently and why?

    my answer: The Duellists (1977) Directed by Ridley Scott starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel. It has some of the best - the absolute BEST - sabre- and sword-fighting scenes in a film. Ever.

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  7. Well, Flywheel, of course!

    No really. I guess Rebecca just because it is Hitchcock and I hadn't gotten to it yet. It has been a dry spell for me and good movies though. No Country was really well made and interesting and left you thinking. Burn After Reading was a waste of time (in Spanish anyway), but then I had time to waste waiting for my flight back.

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  8. Kumbaya! Now why didn't I think of that? I probably couldn't recall all the words.

    Incidentally - my small group was great. None of the get-to-know-you stuff either, except in the context of meaningful conversation.

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