4 thoughts on “What is Christian community?

  1. Christian community is purportedly where those sharing the same belief and faith exhibit unconditional love and acceptance and accept all – both Christian and non Christian. It is purportedly where we Christians build one another up in the faith and so forth.
    NB It conjures up notions for me of pontificating do gooders with phoney smiles pasted on their faces does the word Christian community.
    What I have learnt is that it no longer matters to me who I hang out with. One of my closest friends (and it is one of the most enduring friendships in my life) well she is a staunch atheist. It is not an issue because our friendship is not based on that primary differences but encompasses all facets of what friendship is. By that I mean love, loyalty etcera.
    We have hung out for years with diverse people who have diverse beliefs or non beliefs spiritually.
    Christian community is by and large a crock of shyte. A myth.
    I have endured years of thinking i was wrong to think this but its true. All the institutions and groups and stuff always have agendas and codes of who’s worthy – this is relayed in ways both subtle and blatant.
    I no longer want to adhere to some notion there is this mythical christian community out there because the truth is:
    Many, many christians are fragmented, biased and the institutions are rotten to the core. Many Christians hang out in community type settings because if challenged in other settings they would’nt handle it. You know the real life stuff.
    When you scrape back the smiley super spiritual smiles and blather there is sweet f all left to grapple with.
    I experience my Christianity with both non believers and believers not some idealistic seperatist notion. There ya go Matt Me big rant!

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  2. Matt, I think this question is extremely important for the missional church to grapple with.
    In contrast to mary, I have to say that while Christian community can certainly sometimes (oftentimes?) be fake and “plastic,” that there is something distinct about a community that is Christian, if not from an experiential point of view, then from a theological one.
    It is probably many other things as well, but Christian community is one that is centered on Christ. So actually I think in Christian community our love and loyalty to one another is subsumed under a love and loyalty to Christ. Bonhoeffer described this beautifully in his book Life Together, which is the one source I probably credit more than any other with helping me understand the nature of Christian community.

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  3. I think the best basic primer is found in the “one anothers”. They’re simple and easy to remember, but they slice neatly through cultural or traditional rationalizations of the demands and rewards of Christian community.
    John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
    Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
    Romans 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
    Romans 14:13 – Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.
    Galatians 5:13 – You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
    Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
    Ephesians 5:21 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
    Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
    1 Peter 1:22 – Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
    1 Peter 4:9 – Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
    1 John 3:11 – This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
    A sampling from the NIV via http://biblegateway.com

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  4. Ben, like yourself I think Christian community is one that is centered on Christ. Of course, that’s easier said than done and if we’re honest I think most of us would admit there’s always an ‘aspirational’ dimension to this Christ centredness of ours. This is where Kalessin’s comments become very relevant. We’re called to encourage one another in this aspiration. Towards ever deeper honesty. Towards ever deeper forgiveness. Towards ever deeper trust.

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