On today’s show Doug talks about Chapter One of his new book, The Community of God: A Theology of the Church From a Reluctant Pastor. He looks at the myth of utopian community and why a theology of Christian community is so important.
The Community of God: A Theology of the Church From a Reluctant Pastor is available through Amazon or this Website
Wow! Doug this message really resonated with me, both psychologically and spiritually.for those like me who are introspective introverts, community is exhausting even when people seem to like me and afterward, I beat myself up over what I said. So to hear someone who feels the way I do, yet contends for community reinforces my belief that the church is not a human institution but God’s Body on this earth. The Scripture says His grace is sufficient, for His strength is made perfect in weakness. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, but the way some Christians talk and act, you’d think those Scriptures were irrelevant. What you say about the individualistic distortion of our culture (including the church) is a warning form the Holy Spirit, I feel.
We who love the Bible have to be careful that we don’t misinterpret what is said according to prevailing prejudices. That’s why the community of God is not only in space but in time: reading the saints of former centuries can open up your mind beyond contemporary versions of faith, As an introvert who loves to read I have no trouble admitting how much I owe to the community of Christians who passed on accounts of their struggles and God’s faithfulness to them, But yes, my feelings make me want to avoid conflict and community necessarily creates conflict. Mow Jesus has said blessed are the peacemakers, but I would just rather avoid conflict by avoiding people. But the point is not what do I feel, but what is the nature of the Christian life and how can following Christ, trusting in Him for the abundant life now empower me to defy my feelings for the greater cause of the Kingdom of God. I have come to believe that Christ’s promise of eternal life does involve community and at the same time community does not mean uniformity nor mindless conformity, but it is living as a new creation day by day, through pain and failure, by the grace of God; being conformed to the image of the Son through all the trials and tribulations, all the faults and failings that we think spiritual people don’t have to experience, in humility being willing to be corrected not only by Scripture but by the person who gets on your nerves, etc.
I’ve already rambled too much, but thank you Doug for clarifying and making coherent what I have been struggling with. God cares about individuals and God cares about community: God cares as much for the 100 members of Evergreen as He does for the thousands of a megachurch, because I do not believe God is impressed by numbers: He sees people’s hearts and knows they need Him and each other in order to live fully. Let us put away our utopian, idealistic concepts and learn to be content in whatever community God places us, both for our good and the good of others.
love in Christ, freedalyn