Category Archives: Community

THE MALNOURISHED COMMUNITY

The value of individualism dominates American society. It is like the elephant that fills the room so that all other animals must remain outside or risk being crushed by its unruly weight. We all know that interdependence and community are also values, but they are fed the leftovers from the unhealthy meal of individualism – “only when you really, really, really need help.” Continue reading

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DON’T FALL ALONE

My wife recently observed that you can illustrate almost anything from the classic movie, It’s A Wonderful Life.

For example, have you ever noticed how people who are very good in giving support and encouragement to others, tend to suck at allowing other people to support them in personal crises? Their supply of emotional strength and wisdom overflows into the lives of others. When they encounter difficulty, they rely on that supply for themselves, overlooking the value of shared strength. For these super-givers, the proverb, “Two are better one …. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow,” only applies when the other person falls. Continue reading

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WHERE DO YOU FIND REAL COMMUNITY?

Community in America has suffered the swelling tide of individualism in the last five decades. In general, people are trading communal life for a bloated private life, as they shrink their relational sphere to family and a small group of very close friends. Continue reading

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LOVING CHILDREN AND TEENS

The role of community in developing vital faith in teens provides an interesting commentary on Christian community, especially in light of last week’s article, “Comparing Two Communities.” Dean says, “Caring congregations help teenagers develop what social scientists call ‘connectedness,’ a developmental asset accrued from participating in the relational matrix of authoritative communities – communities that provide young people with available adults, mutual regard, boundaries, and shared long term objectives.” Continue reading

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COMPARING TWO COMMUNITIES

So how should we interpret Kushner’s contrast between Judaism and Christianity? Judaism clearly possesses an ethnic dimension, but that ethnic existence originated with a belief, that God had chosen Abraham and his descendants for a special role in redemptive history. Theology preceded the community. To emphasize the community over theology devalues the calling and mission of the community.

The Christian community likewise exists because of God’s calling and mission for it. Just as Israel was to bear witness to the reality of the one true God, so the Church is called to the same mission. The community plays a key role in that witness. When we allow secondary issues to divide that community, ignoring the essential solidarity we share in Christ, we too forfeit our calling and mission. Continue reading

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