Thursday, February 26, 2004

Authentic Community...by-products...and the "Whosoever"

The concept of community in terms of mission has always been important to us. This caught my eye on theopraxis, which was stimulated by Geoff Holsclaw .

"In other words, to what degree is the "community" of the emerging church based on commonality and homogeneity?"

I wonder if Commonality and homogeneity is the problem. To me 'Authentic Community' is found in diversity. Anyone can find community in like-minded, congeniality, and mutual appreciation but where is cuts and demonstrates the Kingdom is within diversity. Because there you find tolerance, creativity, patience, grace, love and mercy. I think a diverse community is a natural by-product of these kingdom values and for me is so much more attractive than much of the mono-cultural set ups that are called community. That is fine for those that feel happier and safer with that - but it isn't me.

People struggle to find, locate, define authentic community leaving them frustrated with more questions than answers. What they encounter is the inauthenticity of mono-cultural community which to me is not community but a club.

Phil Yancey in "Church why bother" lays down his criteria for searching out new church communities. If he sees anyone remotely like him within the church he never attends again! (Actually I don’t think there is anyone else in the world with a hair cut like him so he is pretty safe!!).

We feel called to the ‘Whosoever’ and it is messy, chaotic but fulfilling and refreshing.

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