Thursday, April 07, 2005

Why it Hurts

This whole matter of being together, this living as God's New Community: it's not hard and painful because we're doing it wrong. It hurts because it's really real. Doing this Life requires willingness to speak and to listen, to Jesus and to one another. This willingness is required for the long term. I think most Christians go through their entire lives without choosing this.

It's helpful to know that my friends and I aren't the only ones fighting this out. Real Live Preacher writes on "Personal Space" in The Christian Century:
Real Christianity involves getting together with a handful of pilgrims and becoming intimate. It means braving the possibility of communion. It means letting people into your personal space. And, by the way, these are exactly the sort of people who may hear something desperate and child-like in your voice and be experienced enough at listening to know exactly what it means.

And a reminder from +Alan, once again, that if we're going to be formed together into the image of Christ, we're going to have to sit down and be about it for a long time:
How long, how long, O Lord, does it take for us to become comfortable with each other? How long!? Here's a question for you? How long are you willing to put into it?
When will I be fully transformed in the image of Christ? When will I stop hating my brother? When will I ever be patient in traffic on the way home!? When? Well, here's the deal on all of it. It takes a while. Those whiles depend on so many factors that if I tried to pretend I knew, I'd be legitimately full of shit. I do know this - a long time. It takes a long time for us to go from being one kind of creature to being another. So, it takes a long time for a community of faith to become what it should be. Relationships are a lifetime proposition. They are always developing and evolving, as are we - it's all very dynamic.

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