When I wrote Rethinking 'Church' I didn't even have a remote idea to start a 'Rethinking' series itself. But it seems like that is what is happening...
It is my definition of the community is that it is a place where we can genuinely open up and share everything without the fear of condemnation or judgement. A place where we can pour out our heart without any 'processing'. A place to find the much needed encouragement and true fellowship. I mean, being authentic and being just as we are. No definitions, no titles, no hierarchies, no meetings, no schedules or any such things.
I believe that Christian walk is just not about oneself but it is about a community. We can see such great communities all over the Bible. Friendlessness is a hindrance to advance in our Grace walk and to reach many others. Billions out their trapped in the dead works of religion needs the message of freedom in Christ.
Are such communities possible? If yes, will it make any difference? We can see some great communities in the book of acts such as the group of people coming together everyday and sharing everything they have, devoting themselves to the teachings of the Apostles, counting all their possessions ‘in common’.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I see the crucial significance of community in this verse - But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Isolation never have been or never will be a solution to anything. The beautiful picture of the 'body of Christ' underlines the significance of members working together for a common good.
At the same time I do not think such communities are possible only by being a part of an organization. We cannot limit ourself to such possibilities. Instead, such organizations can easily destroy the very purpose of the community itself.
I am grateful to God for giving some great friends right here in this blog world. I think this is a great way of having fellowship. How far should we go about sharing our heart on these public blogs is a question many people struggle with. Though this is a 'face less' media, we could see it as an advantage. Being an introvert by nature I have problem in opening up to a live audience (unless I am so emotional), but here I face no such issues and I think it is great.
I still need to continue learning to be real and authentic. I still need to continue learning to share my struggles. I find lot of encouragement in the Bible itself. Apostle Paul did not hide his struggles as a Christian. Gospel writers did not hide the denying Peter or doubting Thomas. The old testament writers did not hide the shortcomings of many great men of God such as David, Solomon etc. In fact I am quite surprised to see the name of harlot Rahab in Hebrews 11. Why do we mask it if we truly know that we are unconditionally accepted by God for who we are through Christ? By being real and authentic many people out there would be able to relate the struggles in their own life and be encouraged by the fact that they are not alone. Can we use this media not only to share the blessings but the struggles, doubts, questions, sins, confusion etc as well? Can we take up the challenge which James brings up to us to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other so that we may be healed?