Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Paradox of Christian Community

I was having a conversation yesterday that I thought you would all like to join. We were talking about really good times in home groups where there is deep sharing and accountability. One person mentioned that it would ruin that to have visitors because the regulars would feel less comfortable sharing with new-comers in the group. But this deep community and sharing is the very thing that un-churched people can't get anywhere else. Sunday morning service can be deep but more often it is a time that can be easily ignored (that is to say that if you want to it can be deep and meaningful time, but if you don't know/care then it is just another production).

There is a paradox: Christian community functions best without un-churched people, but it is that very community that un-churched people need/crave.

Sorry, no answers today, just questions.


rebecca marie said...

i actually prefer the type of deep conversation that happens because an "unchurched" person is there. i love the impressions from someone hearing age old opinion for the first time, working through their questions, all of that. sometimes, when i'm with oldie moldies, i feel like we just go over the same ground. it's nice to have fresh perspective, to look at things through new eyes.

Paula said...

I think one of the biggest problems here is what an individualistic society we have become. It's not OK to appear weak or vulnerable... you're supposed to be able to do it all on your own. We will only share the truth of what's in our hearts with those we feel super close and safe with. I'm not sure that's the way it ought to be. Maybe we need to be willing to share those things with people who aren't quite safe. It's a big emotional risk, but if it shows someone who Jesus is, I think it's worth it.

tabitha jane said...

i think home groups are a better introduction to the christian faith than a big church production so to speak. i would rather have an "unchurched person" experience a small group of humble, honest people working together to understand their faith and how it connects with every facet of their lives than have them come and get totally blown over by a very impersonal easily misunderstood full-scale church service.

more to say, but no time at the moment.

breanna said...

also, the term "unchurched" bothers me. i can't say for sure if it's because in my gut i want to rebel against the whole "church=christianity/salvation" thing over "relationship w/God=salvation" or what. It's obviously not (only) church that bring people to Christ. we all know plenty of folks with permanent booty indentations on the pew who are no closer to Heaven than the "unchurched." i know that's not what this post was about, but it just struck me funny. not funny ha ha.

am i the only one?

James T Wood said...

I have to agree, Breanna, the term "unchurched" always gives me pause. I don't know of a better term that everyone would understand without explanation. Other suggestions are: pre-christian, or normals. It's so tough describing people in terms of what they are not without being negative.

Justin said...

One of the coolest things about the human condition is the need for community. People need people! For people without a relationship with Jesus, the best way for them to start building that relationship is to form spiritual friendships with those who have a relationship with Jesus. That places the burden on us to build spiritual friendships, and to remain open even if it is (not this...) UNCOMFORTABLE!?!