Thursday, July 12, 2007

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Churches need to create missional communities of participation, conversation, teaching, listening, and subversiveness, while interacting with Scripture and cultural texts (products of free human action - worldviews that shape us). Why, in your opinion, is this generally not happening?


John said...

Because we're scared and most of us have never seen this type of community in action. Very few have.

It's scary because being a part of a community like this involves us being OPEN and REAL with one another. And that is scary. I remember during my time at L'Abri I was scared many times because I had to be real with myself and others.

We need to do this, however. If we truly want to grow and truly wrestle with what is affecting us, and truly deal with the world through the lens of Scripture, we need these communities.

Greg said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Scared to be real is a good point and ironic in a way, because so many say being real is what they're searching for.

Living in community tends to bring things to the forefront, which then have to be dealt with through Christ's redemption - maybe it's these notions of real that frighten us so much.

Anonymous said...

Hi Greg & John.
I agree with what your both saying.The need to belong and for community within the church is foundational.
As well as the pain of allowing ourselves to be known,theres the problem of structure to overcome.
For example, near where I live is a 16 Century village with re-enactors, you can go around this village talking to different people.What is apparent is that everyone lived so close that there was little opportunity to be isolated,there was always a babysitter on hand.
This community survived because of its relationships.The very opposite happens now-where people are physically and relationally distant.There is a real hunger for community just witness the growth of online communities.
This in an age of mega churches!

Greg said...

Thanks for commenting. Mega-churches often seem to breakdown community, rather than contributing to it. They enhance the once a week gathering, over the frightening prospect of actuality of getting to know each other, with all the joys and pains that brings.

John said...

Agreed, but let's not blame the churches. It's the fault of humans that relationship and community is lost. "I am an island" is what most people tend to believe about themselves nowadays. That meaning they say "I don't need others. I'm content on my own. I'm content to do my own thing." Which to an extent is good, but not the extent to which people often take it.

We oftentimes do not see the need for community. We want to be individualistic and seen as capable, which lends itself to not asking for help oftentimes and drawing ourselves deeper into individualism. It's a vicious cycle, especially in postmodern America.

How do we fight this?

Greg said...

Happen to be sitting in the cafe tonight working on memory just now as you came in.

Well, first the churches. They're made up of those humans you mention, but I agree that the larger problem is a cultural one where individualism is often touted as ultimate freedom. This is not true. Illusion making takes place here. "I am an island" does and will breakdown, and in the end lead to bondage.

Freedom comes from a healthy dependence on the O(o)ther in community. I believe this would be one place to fight against the illusion - stressing the truth of dependence over the lie of individualism will start to break the vicious cycle and lead us in the direction of truth and in turn freedom.

beyondwords said...

Great question, Greg. Do you think ecnomomic forces might drive the church to start living more as community in coming years? I would rather live that way proactively for kingdom principles than be forced by external pressures, but sometimes it takes hardship for us to change. In the meantime, do you think cultivating spiritual disciplines and rhythms of engagement and withdrawal help people live in community?

Greg said...

Good points and questions BW. Thanks.

Something needs to drive us to change. What will provoke it? Could be a multiplicity of factors. Economic woes, dead orthodoxy, impoverished spirituality?

Yes, I think spiritual disciplines, as long as they don't become legalistic, which has been and is far too often the case, may move people towards a realization of deeper need for community. My view would be that people desire and deserve an opportunity to live their faith and contribute to others in as real and authentic ways as possible - problem is that this rarely happens. Communities need to be created, which people can then be invited into to experience God's love.

Rhythms of engagement and withdrawal, I believe, would seem to be a must for community life to remain healthy.

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