Community Is Not Self-Actualization

00This video was so true I could not resist posting it. As a church planter this has been one of the hidden hurdles to forming genuine, tethered communities. Culturally we seem more concerned with “how we want to be recognized by others” rather than “how do we meaningfully relate with others”.  I’ve recently been recognizing how vintage my own church plant appears in a viral culture. Check it>  00

Substitute Community

00I was fascinated by the elements of the Manti Te’o drama. In January 2013 this young football player was hoaxed as his online girlfriend faked her death. An acquaintance of Te’o confessed to orchestrating a hoax that lured Te’o into an online relationship with a nonexistent woman. How did a young man build a strong emotional attachment with someone that was not physically in his life? How did he develop a perceived relationship with someone who was not actively present? Something about this story symbolizes a cultural shift in how we’ve begun to quantify relationships. The psychological issues around this story had me buzzing as it relates to the formation of community. Modern Symbolism We face complications around the symbolism of community. What is it? What does our popular imagination say it is? What ideals do we harbor? What expectations do we import? Personally, my laser focus on community is directly tied to my take-away from the narrative of the New Testament church. If the temple is no longer the space that contains God, what is?  The landscape of the New Testament letters exposes that community is the container for carrying the message of Jesus. Biblically informed community and American popular ideas of community are not the same. Time and time […]

Individualism and Community

00 In our culture individualism is a high priority.  The value to apprehend independence is part of the fabric of our society.   My personal goals, the things that satisfy me and my right to pursue them are supposed to take priority when I’m making decisions. In many ways we worship our freedom to express independence without constraints.  We think self-reliance is the strongest form of being human.  The primary reality is me; the person. In America we are conditioned and shaped by this hidden or maybe not so hidden worldview of individualism. I can’t help but see this controlling value of individualism soaked into the Evangelical imagination.  Individualism has tainted and distorted almost every aspect of the modern expression of Christianity. The “personal” emphasis has been the bread-and-butter for the evangelical church for quite awhile. 1. Most worship songs are written based on this premise. 2. God’s will is something He reveals to me personally. I call this Subjective Personal Experience – “God  told me, God’s calling me” 3. Holiness is personal pursuit – more personal Bible study, a more intense private prayer life, conviction and rooting out sin is a personal endeavor. 4. God’s blessing is a personal thing – if I live an obedient […]