Community Pt. III

Having no original thoughts of my own lately, I once again want to direct you to Catalyst Faith for their discussion on true community. There is some great stuff on The Sacrament of Community Pt. II and the latest, Pt. III. Maybe you guys already know this stuff or have years of insight but man, this is coming to me as completely new. I keep reading thinking, how in the world did I miss this?

One of the things Tom brings up in Pt. III is “In his book, Velvet Elvis, author Rob Bell makes an interesting observation that we modern Christians can forget. He reminds us that the whole concept of You, your Bible, and God (the Quiet Time?) is only a couple of hundred years old, at the most. …For most of Christian history, the reading of Scripture was a group activity where the Word was spoken, repeated, debated, and learned in community. …in Greek, the use of you, as it used throughout most of the New Testament, is primarily in the plural. Or, y’all for those of you below the Mason-Dixon.”

Wow. This is total vindication for anyone who beats themself up for not being able to “grow” through their quiet times. I’m so used to hearing about discipleship training and books and jargon. Someone decides to follow Jesus and accept salvation and we hand them a book on how to be a good Christian–read your bible, memorize scripture, give the right amount of money, pray, etc. While Catalyst is not saying spending time in solitude with God(or other disciplines) is not important, are spiritual disciplines the equivalent to “graduate studies for the child of God”. What is important to teach a new believer? Can we throw away the topical small group books and read the bible together–debate and question and wonder? And I’m asking for real, not to be sarcastic(shocking!). Would you please tell me what you think?

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Hey Joni –
    Thanks for piggy-backing on the post. I think throwing out our discipleship material is a little drastic. Besides, if you tear them up they make great scratch paper and message pads.

    Seriously though, discipleship is a community activity, not something to be practiced in solitude (much like apprenticeship and mentorship). I don’t want to throw that out or self-study. But we have so equated Christian growth with head knowledge, that I’m not sure we know of any other way to grow or experience God. Head knowledge if fine, but there are so many other rich and mysterious ways to encounter God.

    Think of Mother Teresa in Calcutta… giving poor Indian beggars a bed to die in. That was really her ministry. Not nursing them back to health. Just giving them a bed, holding their hand, looking them in the eye and saying to them, as they die, “I see you. You matter. You are not alone.” Wow, I’m tearing up as I type this and I’m not a cryer. That’s touching the face of God. That’s community.

    I need to blow my nose, where’s a discipleship workbook?

    Reply

  2. Tom tearing up? Tom doesn’t cry….. Even when he left us (twice) he didn’t cry…..

    Now Jean….. she cries….. she and I cry together…..

    Tom doesn’t cry…….

    Reply

  3. I almost cried when Tom left us the second time…

    I think Tom is probably a closetted weeper.

    Reply

  4. Then again, who wouldn’t cry for a guy who’s moving to Pittsburgh?

    Reply

  5. I completely agree with this…well said

    Reply

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