What does Community really mean?

 

caravan

Perhaps the thing that has drawn most of us together (other than the chocolate fountain) has been the desire to be part of a Community. But what do we really mean?

  • Isn’t a Community a bunch of people who live in a caravan park together?
  • Isn’t a Community a bunch of people who always get on, and never fight, and smile way too much?
  • Isn’t a Community a bunch of people who live in the same Suburb as each other?

And is there any difference between a Community, and a Faith Community?

When Jesus was approaching the end of his time on Earth he didn’t write a book telling us how to live, but he formed a Community. Was he giving us a hint?

If we try to dig a little deeper than vague idealistic words and concepts, what does it really mean to be in a genuine Community, with other flawed human beings, who are journeying together in their faith? Should we think of ourselves as being members of the same family, or is that all a bit weird and intimate?

And give this one a bit of thought; How are we each part of one another’s stories?

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9 Comments »

  1. Matt Button Said:

    For many years I have battled with the idea of community. It began at a conference where a guy called Tom Sine challenged me and 200 Christian students to consider not living lives chasing the dream of a quarter acre section, a nice car and a boat. Whilst the latter two had little appeal, the 3 bedroom house with a back yard was much harder to give up. He called Christians to live in community, close together so that we could share resources and support one another in daily living. It seemed a bit commune-ish, with a serious loss of privacy, but also made a lot of sense to me. However 15 years on, I slowly but surely have given up that dream, settling instead for sharing a few tools with friends.

    As I reflect on the lost ideal, I reckon what disturbs me more than the lack of local Christian community is the lack of connectedness within Christian communities. Being part of a Christian community must require me to serve others and that I can be served, so that we can be better connected. It is as I share in the emotional, spiritual and financial burden of my faith community that I am enlivened and encouraged. I reckon this strengthens me to reach out to others with God’s love ie. more opportunities for serving one another in our community leads me to more often serve others outside of the community.

    The final thing to be said is that I think to build our community and connection, we need to look to the creativity and talents of the individuals involved. I reckon I can offer/serve within this community and I know others can too.

    Actually, the final thing is this: I come into this community with a local community flavour to everything. Part of my little blurb is to help me with the unsettledness in my mind about community as we enter into something less locality oriented.

    Bye

  2. Sara Said:

    For me community is quintessentially about sharing stories, to give and to receive from others who give a damn; be it how their week has been, whether or not they got over that nagging cold or whether they are feeling at a complete loose end and don’t know what they’re doing with themselves.
    Community is support, when things are great and when they’re not.
    Faith community is an all encompassing support, a support that is never in question and shouldn’t be doubted.
    I, personally am really excited about what ‘the kitchen’ could be and can’t wait to see how this first month plays out.

  3. Pip Said:

    I think a community is about a bunch of people supporting each other, while sharing opinions, talents and interests.
    To me, a faith community is people supporting, nurturing and challenging each other in a comfortable enviroment, so as to continually develop into better christians.
    Looking forward to the coming month too!.

  4. Isaac Said:

    This is always one which seems to appear in many forms. I love the sense community at my current church because I believe that there is a huge awareness that we all share at least one thing in common…

    That is the life saving death of Jesus Christ.

    It is there that, in the christian sense of the word, community begins.

    With in that we also recognise that during the years he spent minitering on earth Jesus us 3 things to keep his community example constant

    1. He understood our human limitations giving us infinate chances to live out our lives according to his instructions

    2. He listened. He already knows our struggles but it is nessarcary that we “verbalise” them in order to deal with them so he provides community to air our concerns safely

    3. He challanged. Just when we thought we had this who God and christianity thing all figured out he turns round waves something in our directions that makes us sit and re-evaluate our position with him

    Oh and a fourth

    Principally he led by example: and that needs no explination.

    That’s my 2cents

    Isaac

  5. RonMck Said:

    My thoughts on real community are here.

    Keep searching, community is important.

  6. Alistair Said:

    When I think about God being everywhere, all powerful and all knowing, and me sometimes feeling helpless, confused and limited, I can feel distant from him.

    Strong community surely brings many perspectives, many abilities and many hands make light work as they say.

    The difficulty I have with a number of my other experiences is that community is overshadowed by another relationship which is quite distant. A relationship between me and a God representative who appears more powerful, more knowing and more present than me. Often my relationships with others in the group are somewhat dependent on accepting the influence of the God representative. It doesn’t help me make sense of things.

    The joy of community surely includes making sense or understanding others perspectives and working it out with them and responding together. Seeing how God is directly influencing each other reduces those frustrations and helps me feel closer to God.

  7. Lani Said:

    That’s quite a cool reflection Alistair and upon reading, I thought, yeah… so totally true.

    I think community is about togetherness despite apartness (unity in diversity?). Yes there are things that are common ground, that everyone has as a central focal point ie. we come together as members of “the kitchen”. “The Kitchen” is our common ground. But we’re different and we have different stuff to offer, gifts that perhaps others don’t have.

    I like the TV2 ads which show togetherness. Community is togetherness. We experience stuff of life together and share in each others journeys. Some of us are more experienced than others, so we help people overcome barriers that we’ve been challenged with.

    All that does sound kinda deep but I also reckon that community is about just being together: whether by eating, watching Blackadder, going to the beach, feeding ducks, having a jam, drinking coffee, whatever. I think community is more being thing rather than a doing thing. But then out of doing, flows the being.

    Peace.

  8. rosey Said:

    I really did have a very idealist idea of community before i actually got knee deep in one. I thought it would be pretty harmonious… and lovely – but the reality was quite different. For the first 6 months, when ever I heard that the community i was in was ‘a gift’ and that our ‘diversity was a blessing’ it mad me pretty mad, cos the diversity was frustrating and people were idiots! However, after that 6 months i kinda realised there was truth in those cliché statements. A lot of the time i couldn’t stand half the community, but the people that i wouldn’t have chosen to spend a minute of my time with my choice, became the people that i started to learn kinda wicked things from and actually, they started to become my friends.
    I don’t think community is easy, i think it hard, i guess what i’m trying to say out of this waffle is community is good for us, it widens our horizons, shapes us in new ways and helps us to view the world different. yeah, that’s it.

  9. If only I had a dollar for each time I came to thekitchen.wordpress.com.. Superb post.


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