Well, I was going to write on this myself, but Jason over at Truth Seeker already did and is having a great discussion. Because I don’t want to be left out of the party and I had started a thought process I wanted to continue here, I will simply post my comment and see where it goes.
The “church” has had the misfortune of being tangibly led by flawed humanity. Sadly, we haven’t traveled very far from the mentality of a Peter who wanted to build tabernacles to commemorate his “mountaintop experience” at the expense of glorifying the one, true G-d.
In our modern enlightenment we call them denominations and movements. Yet, more often than not they will be a group of disillusioned believers coming together to create a place of worship. These communities, when reduced to their lowest common denominator, are often nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to a negative experience and not a reasoned and thoughtful response to real need or even, many times, to a true calling.
Those of us from legalistic backgrounds are drawn like moths to a flame toward the parts of the Body which present very few restrictions. Those burnt by the free love, “all emotion all the time” churches gravitate toward the “all knowledge all the time “believers and so on and so forth.
So many believers looking for the next “met need”.
The question for me is not what is wrong with the church and how I should protect myself from the destruction which invariably follows a movement created by a man, for a man, about a man but rather how does following G-d look regardless of the environment in which I find myself?
Community is not about a person, a building or a movement.
Community is about commitment. Community is about self-denial and the willingness to be hurt by those you have allowed close enough to do so. Community is about staying to rebuild and not choosing to run away to nurse your wounds in private.
The beauty in community is found by surrounding ourselves with those who are not like-minded and nevertheless allowing ourselves to learn to love and work well with them in spite of and often because of our differences.
The blessing in community is being sharpened by those disagree with us and those who challenge our paradigm. A paradigm often disguising selfishness and self-righteousness.
The hope and growth of community is found when you and I see what’s wrong with our fellowship, rise to the occasion and create, within our own body, the type of ministry which is missing. When we stop pointing fingers at how our fathers, forefathers and all of church history have failed us and realize we possess, within ourselves, the same culpability to make a monument to ourselves by creating a body in our own image, relevant to our own needs and perspective at the expense of the generations to come.
The future of community is when you and I are raised up from within, take our maturity, our knowledge and our strength and prove we can be sent out, with the blessing of our spiritual family, to spread the light as far as we can.