Sometimes we feel like we want to quit humans. We interact with people, and we’re just done. We want to quit gathering. We want to quit community.
Certainly many people feel that way about the community of faith, aka the church (local and global). Some (I hope all) are sick of corruption, abuse and injustice in the church. Others simply prefer “growing alone” (as Wendell Berry describes in an essay called “Men and Women in Search for Common Ground). These folks are understandably jaded by “organized religion.” Still, there’s another group of folks who say that the church quit them, not the other way around. These folks tried to give of themselves to the community of faith, and they got burned.
So we want to quit. We want to uproot ourselves and find God elsewhere (if we’re still searching at all). It makes sense. It really does.
There’s trouble with quitting, though. There are obviously troubles with community and community of faith. But, there’s trouble with quitting, too. The trouble is God comes alive in community; God does something extraordinary when/where people gather; when individuals live out faith together, in community, God’s redemption bursts forth wonderfully.
The truth is that we’re made for community. We’re made to grow up together. We’re made to hurt together, not alone. In trouble and joy, we’re made to lean on each other. And so a a fundamental basic for living out faith is…living out faith in/as/with/for community.
So if we’re going to be the church we’re not yet, we desperately need individuals who will give themselves to the church, in all its trouble. We need individuals who will stick with the church, who will commit to living out their faith in community, who will seek God’s blessing in and for the community of faith. When we do that–when we commit to the basic practice of living out faith in community–God blesses individuals and the community. When we do that, the church becomes God’s kind of religion, not the kind most of us are tired of.
Photo: by Ramagri on Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)