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community, part 30

Bloged in church, community by rod Tuesday August 3, 2004

You walk into a gathering of thousands of people. There is a sense of community obvious in the air because everyone is there for the same reason. It is a commonality of purpose that draws and connects thousands of people who have absolutely no other connection or even knowledge of one another. Though everyone has come with their own friends and family, they are busy talking to strangers, introducing themselves asking questions, learning about each other. Some are dressed in Khakis and Polo shirts, others are wearing cut-offs, no-shirts, Gothic kilts. Some have no exposed un-inked skin. There are shaved heads, Mohawks, long hairs, blue, green, black. People of every bent, size, shape, color and age group, all gathered for a single reason.
No one from the stage directs them to introduce themselves to one another. No one asks them to join hands and sing together. But they do it naturally, driven by the same purpose.
Oh, I’m sorry, you thought I was talking about church? How embarrassing. I was talking about the Rush concert again.
Why does this not describe the church? I’m sorry that this answer is going to sound simplistic and offensive, but I believe it is the bottom line reason. We are not all there for the same reason. In the above scenario, unity of purpose has resulted in community as a by-product. Many people go to church solely for community. But community doesn’t result because there are myriad different reasons why everyone else is there. A few weeks ago, I blogged about the difference between feeling a horizontal connection from worshipping vertically, and worshipping with the desire to connect horizontally. The former results in both while the latter results in neither.
When I feel such a strong sense of community among strangers in a secular situation, it breaks my heart that Christians who know each other can’t even manufacture a similar oneness.
So I’m sorry to be so ugly. Maybe we should take a poll and ask every one why they’ve come to church today. To worship? Oh, really?

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