Friday, July 22, 2016

"Whatever Happened to Community?"

I know it is dated but the material is still relevant. Robert Putnam had a best-seller several years ago entitled, Bowling Alone. I still recall the impact his insights had on me. The subtitle says it all; The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

Putnam targets the emptiness that many people are experiencing in our culture. There is a social void. How many close friends do you have? Are you in touch with your extended family? Social media has contributed to this isolation that people feel.

Whatever happened to community?  We know something about proximity – at work, at home, at school, at church, at workouts, at entertainment, and at neighborhood functions.  Proximity must not be confused with community. Too many of us live life alone.

The Body of Christ knows something about community. In the Church, we are united and on equal ground because we are all sinners in need of God’s grace. Our unity is in Jesus Christ. However, that should not be confused with uniformity. As disciples of Christ, we cannot live faithfully by ourselves.  We need each other for affirmation, confession, discipline and direction. In the Church, the individual is not prioritized; the community of faith is prioritized.

We are, as the T-shirt suggests, “Made for more than just me.”  That is a distinguishing characteristic of the Christian community. I know that, “Resentment and aggression are pervasive.”  As Christians we do not have to succumb to that.

Through Christ’s death on the cross, he, “Has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.”  Ephesians 2:14


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