What Is Christian Spirituality? > Theology > Christian community
All believers in Christ are united through Christ.
the Holy Spirit brings Christ into us, reveals to us the truth in the Scriptures and the falsehoods in the world around us, and gives us gifts to build each other up and help others find God's grace, mercy, and good news.
The time that Christ most clearly binds us together is when we are taking in the Bread and Wine (also called 'the Body and Blood of Christ') together.
Our task, given specifically by Jesus, is to "love one another", which we do when we
This 'one anothering' is done in a wide variety of settings. Some of it is done through caring ministries, twelve-step groups, prayer groups, home bible studies, and sometimes just being together and having fun. The core of it is done through groupings that are specially set aside for God; these include house churches, cell churches (house groups with larger group settings for worship, pastoring, and ministry), congregations, parishes (churches for a specific community), campus/student groups, and intentional Christian communities. The church uses different forms of getting together to embody Christ in a different cultural or functional setting. They do other things differently, but what's in common is community. You can't "one another" by yourself! It takes another!
As a believer in Christ, you are never alone; you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God, with billions of others throughout history, today, and days to come. This is what Christ says we will be known by. Yet the Church has made a lot of people more alone, ashamed, or rejected. If that's you, you're not alone in feeling alone. And there really are Christians who will accept you, forgive you, perhaps even love you -- and not just a few, but many. We need you; we can't learn or change that part of us without you, we won't be whole without you.
Most people tend to be drawn to a church of 'people like me' -- acting like me, thinking like me, looking like me, working like me, holding to the same doctrine and the same practices as me, having the same needs and corruptions and lunacies as me. Some church growth theorists see this as a good thing. To me, it sounds like something out of a space alien movie -- the Borg Queen would love it. Eeeeeek. Worst, it would have its full share of self-seeking hypocrites, because sometimes I'm one. When our different and very-human behaviors and motives get me frustrated, thinking on that image makes me less arrogant about it.
Because it belongs to a realm other than today's world, the church must be a place where people can still belong. We need to spread the word that life's not about "me". It's about God. And God calls us to be a "we".
A Spirithome.com challenge:
Break the social rules and reach out to someone who's isolated from the rest. (Be aware that they may not be easy to get along with. But it's worth a try.)
about you and the community of faith
"Koinonia refers to
the internal character of the church community. It is the
solidarity of that community in which a common purpose is strong enough to
render all other stratifications among human beings of only
secondary importance .... ...Koinonia refers to the character
of the church as the embodiment of the reign of
---- James Evans, *We Have Been Believers*, p.136
"Unless the role of community is grasped
one has failed to understand what the renewal is saying. It
seems to me that the primary consequence of the resurrection
and of Pentecost is not the exercise of gifts but community
-------- Kilian McDonnell, *One In Christ*, v.16 #4, p.331
"Communion is strength; solitude is
weakness. Alone, the fine old beech yields to the blast and
lies prone on the meadow. In the forest, supporting each other,
the trees laugh at the hurricane. The sheep of Jesus flock
together. The social element is the genius of
-------- Charles Spurgeon
"A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there."
-------- H.L. Mencken
"Contrary to general
expectation, highly individualistic Pentecostalism is
remarkably corporate and congregational in its life. The
Pentecostal church-meeting or assembly where the individual
gifts are principally exercised is close to the center of the
Pentecostal movement. Here the experiences of the many merge
into the one and by this confluence the power of the Holy
Spirit is felt in multiplication."
Frederick Dale Bruner, *A Theology Of the Holy Spirit*, p.22
"It is dark at the foot of the lighthouse."
proverb of unknown authorship
"The Church is not an institution
which has sacraments; the Church is a sacrament which has
Teach us to utter living words
Of truth which all may hear
The language all shall understand
When love speaks, loud and clear
Till every age and race and clime
Shall blend their creeds in one
And earth shall form one brotherhood
By whom Your will be done.
"O Spirit Of the Living God", v.3, by Henry H. Tweedy
"Well before ekklesia was
a religious way, it referred to the assembly of persons
'called out' from everyday life for a particular purpose."
[[Such as a volunteer army, or a gathering to make political
decisions. (ed.)]] "When the early Christians used the word ekklesia to describe their group, it
showed that they understood that the Holy Spirit had called
them out of one kind of life and into another. They were
different people, and they had a new
--- Thomas Kadel, *Living the Creed* (Parish Life Press), p.62
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|ver.: 09 April 2009
Church community. Copyright © 2000-2009 by Robert Longman.