I'm a lazy blogger lately, but I wanted to share here a contribution I offered to a discussion on Abbot Creech's blog. By all means feel free to read and respond there if you like (The title: "What do people want [from church]?"). One of his commenters moved me to think about whether or not we in our shared life, with all our talk about "community," can be called idealists, or if we might find ourselves talking about these great ideas that are essentially unliveable. I find that to be a common objection when I talk about these things, but the crux of the matter is that I see myself and my friends living in these ways right now.
I can see, and appreciate, the allure of the community model that you operate under, in that from the outside, it seems uncomplicated and easy on the surface.I'm not ready to call our life as VBCC (or my relationships with the folks of hOME in Oxford) to be either easy or uncomplicated, and I never mean it to sound that way. I try to make truth and faithfulness as I understand them to be clear and obvious, but never easy or uncomplicated. Indeed, the whole shebang is about as un/complicated as you could expect a web of relationships to be. There just doesn't happen to be any Powerpoint. Loving each other is never easy, and the ways of doing this in concrete and not hypothetical fashion with real people with real "issues" and life stories is never obvious or easy. There's nothing in my own words about "life in the christian community" that I suppose will make that easy or obvious as such. Being dedicated to one another is never easy. But it is good, and it is healing.
I think we are, however, "People together of like minds, trying to live life and love God."
That should always be square one. But I like to think that we have no illusions: when we start doing that together in the real world with realy people (as we do!) then we see that it's not "easy," but none of us claim for even one moment that it is. It's just faithful.
Nothing of the big church stuff to get hung up on.Well, there is a certain holy simplicity to it, in my not-so-humble opinion. ;0)
Then I realize that if I were to dive in, even in your community, there would be lots of things to distract and muck it up.That's true. Now pay attention to this next part, because it's very important: that's the way it's supposed to be. One of the big conceptual and practical tests of our common life is whether and how we see to live with and in that muckiness in a loving and redemptive way rather than to try to escape the muckiness of one another's lives.
Someone once said, "I am neither an optimist or a pessimist. God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead."
Blessed Eastertide to you.