Saturday, August 01, 2009

In Search of the Ideal Community

Wayne Jacobsen posted this today on his blog. It really hit home with me. A lot of communities use you to get what they want out of you. They call you a friend and you get involved. If you don't tow the party line, then the friendship is over. I want no part of a community like that.

Here's what Wayne posted today...

I get in a lot of discussions with people about the practicality of finding real community among flawed brothers and sisters. Certainly we are all in a journey of transformation, but community need not demand perfection, just the resolve to live inside relationships. Everyone wants community but mostly for the benefits, and that can’t happen where people are not also willing to pay the cost.

The cost is this: one must put the priority of friendship above any other consideration, including how right I think I am. This is what Philippians 2:1-4 and other passages encourage us to do. The problem is, so few people I’ve met in this life can either live that or sustain it for any length of time. The moment community is about something other than friendship (finding our ministry, promoting our own happiness, or satisfying our coping mechanisms), it will always break down into a competition as to who has the most power to get their way.

The problem with any structure we would seek to use to guarantee this kind of life eventually fails. Subtly the structure replaces relationship, as people think the structure (the fact we belong to the same group) guarantees a relationship. But it won’t be long before most people will exploit the structure for their own self-interest or preferences. And most of those will mask their selfishness by claiming God led them to pursue they things they also happen to prefer the most. The biggest disappointments of my life have come when people get involved in a friendship only for as long as it met their needs and desires. Then they easily tossed aside the friendship like a piece of junk mail. They wanted the benefits of friendship, but had neither the responsibility nor integrity to contribute to the friendship beyond their own gain.

Philippians 2:1-4 (The Message)

Philippians 2

He Took on the Status of a Slave

1-4If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.



Blogger Debo Blue said...

No drinking.
No Smoking.
No cursing.
No dancing.
No R-rated movies.

I can truthfully say I try to follow this to the letter of the law. Sometimes I feel my family and I are the only ones not Amish who follow this practice.

But we've done it so long now it's not that big a deal unless I'm invited out to the movies:-) Even then, I respond that I don't want to see all the violence, and hear all that cursing and nudity.

But, I've got other faults bigger than these that I'm working on. It's an awesome thing that He's so much bigger than my faults. Isn't it?

6:45 PM  

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