Thursday, 30 October 2014

Community expands our understanding and experience of God

One of the helpful books I have come along in these days is one from Tim Conder; The Church in transition. Books sometimes give words to my thoughts, help me to formulate them clearer and come to a deeper appreciation of different opinions. I think too many church leader don't read enough which is affecting community formation . . . too often we dwell in our own little worlds and think that is all there is. But community expands our understanding and experience of God beyond the limitation of our own individual experiences and personalities or that of our church and denomination. Too often do we interpret of "being of like mind" that we have to think and like all the same, fearing the very gift that God offers to us; diversity. And fear creates at best indifference toward those who are different but certainly fragmentation of the Church into small pockets where self-interest and individualism can flourish. Rather than being united by a common love to God and to one another, we are being divided by man made forms of worship, man made culture, a racial divide, and much more. These realities of egos, and the desire for independence encourages almost a competing spirit between churches. And I can't help it, but I feel that our lives and our churches are profoundly irrelevant to the people around us. Especially we we only dabble in the differences of doctrines and forms between each other, never learning the needs of our common neigbours. In our disunity and competitive spirit, the Christian message, the gospel has disintegrated into the static of many rival local stories and values vying for attention and loyalty.
Independence  and freedom  are to be values, but our Western's culture idolization of individualism at the expense of interdependence is un-biblical. The importance of church leadership lies in their ability to moderate the impact of the internalization of faith as a personal practice and hence individualism. After all the church will not be known by its form of worship or the multitude of detailed doctrine but by the love we have for one another in our diversity.  

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