Monday, November 12, 2007

Community (PMC - Part 3)

As a postmodern christian I believe that the Kingdom of Heaven, residing on earth, is the "institution" that individual christians ought to belong to. Modern christianity has assumed that local churches are the appropriate institutions for the infiltration of God's loving redemption throughout the world. This is not to say that I don't believe in local communities of believers; far from it, I think we have strayed to far from this model. Modern churches often have thousands of members from miles and miles away who all come together once a week, and then return to spend the other six days of the week in isolation from one another. Evangelism is essentially the effort to coerce not-yet-christian neighbors to attend the big church gathering on Sunday morning. Contrast this with a true community in which individual members live close to one another, see each other on a day-to-day basis, and interact with not-yet-christian neighbors who are exposed to the authentic day-in-day-out life of the christian community and it's individual members. This would provide for an environment of accountability and encouragement for daily life. In many ways this more neighborhood-focused community of believers would allow not-yet-christians to be part of the community, enveloped in Christ's love, all the while respecting their right to take their time and investigate Christ and his claims at their own pace. A true daily community of believers and non-believers is an integral part of my view of post-moder christianity.

By the way, this is not to say that there shouldn't be worship gatherings or bible studies or prayer groups; just that they would be more evident and transparent to the broader community in which the christians live.

3 comments:

Kalev Hinrich said...

Amen!

Justin said...

I agree. How could one really know Jesus apart from HIS body?

Here's my question that you brushed up against: What do we do with the Sunday morning events, then?

(I am a pastor, so I'm well vested in this conversation.)

Jared said...

Hi Justin - thanks for your comments. I'm not really sure what happens with the Sunday morning service. I think it's really difficult to dislodge people for whom Christian spirituality has become a church-centric exercise. That is, we seem to reinforce the belief that "christian" things happen at church, even as we say the opposite. It's foreign to most to conceive of a christian community that centers around a neighborhood without the building. A community that goes to the destitute and lost rather than inviting them to come to us. I wonder why we put the burden on the lost to come to us. Anyway, I also recognize that many people whose spirituality revolves around a church building are wonderful, good-hearted, Christ-formed people, who see no reason to change, maybe for good reason. What do you think should be done with Sunday morning events?