Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A bowl of Stew (art): The Ideal

A bowl of Stew (art): The Ideal

My wonderful friend Lizbrought up the question of an ideal community on her blog, and it makes my heartsing because community is where my heart is, and was one of the major themes of the A2 conference and so is fresh on my mind.

First, a disclaimer - I am not picking on the Church, I am not complaining about the church. I am seeing a problem within the current functioning of the Body and giving ideas that will (hopefully) bring us back to our intended function.

I think the major problem within the church is the humanistic self-centered attitude that we have allowed, especailly as a north american culture, to slip into the church. Christians are taught that "Jesus died just for you" and while it is true that Jesus died for them, it is not true that it is "just" for anyone. Chist died so that ALL would live. Our salvation is not a personal salvation, it is the salvation of the whole world. When God blessed Abraham it was so that the world could be blessed through him. What God does for each of us is not just for us but for all the lives we may have the power to touch.

This self-centered mentality shows up in a variety of ways, but one of the ways most damaging to community is the "I just need to be fed" idea. Erwin McManus puts it in terms of "spiritual bulemia" - we starve ourselves throughout the week and then become gluttons on Sunday morning. Those of us who are in Christ have the fullness of God, we have access to Him at any point in time, we don't need anyone to feed us, we should have the ability to feed ourselves, or to come along side each other through small groups (or friends getting together, whatever you want to call it).

The function of the chuch should be makig it as easy as possible for people who are far away from God to get close to Him. That means helping people in real ways, that means being their friend, not trating them like a project. That means loving them where they are with a love that lets them know that they can be better people.

Something that I heard recently really stuck out to me. It was the idea that humanity, everyone, already has a desire to be better than they are, already feels a disconnect from God and already feels needs. We don't need to tell people that God can change their lives, we need to show them what God's change in our lives looks like.

That would be my ideal community. People striving to make the lives of those around them better instead of trying to get other people to make their lives easier. We don't need to worry about changing how people behave, God will do that.

4 comments:

Dancin' said...

Steph,

I like what you had to say about Spiritual Boulemia and the concept of community.
There's something unnerving to me about the statement that salvation isn't peronal. I agree Jesus died for ALL, I also believe he died specifically for me. I don't it's an either or deal. I think in his death for all of humanity he died for me. As a result I have a personal relationship with him and am a part of his body which reaches out to the world as a whole. My individuality is encorporated into community. Just as the skins cells are a part of the hand.

Steph said...

I suppose I didn't balance myself with that statement did i...yes, Jesus did die for us, but not just for our own benefit. Most of the time the idea that "Jesus died for me" drowns out that of "Jesus died to save the world" and that is where the problem happens

Dancin' said...

TRU DAT

elizabeth said...

Amen, amen, amen. Steph. I love it! Totally fits with what I am thinking and the questions I've been asking. Its not the whole answer since there are so many possible threads -but it is the start. Thank you for putting it into words. And keep a look out for the next question! Love you!