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What is Community?

Why is true community so hard to find?  I was talking with my brother-in-law last week and we were discussing the differences between Mid-western Wisconsin culture and Mexican culture, which he grew up in.  He said one of the big differences is the greater extent to which people just hang out with each other in Mexican culture.  It is not planned or organized.  You just get together and do things together.  He said there is a word for it in Spanish: Convive – “co-living”.  You live your life in community and decide to do things together.

Then he thought for a minute and said that Mid-westerners do that too – it’s just usually limited to teenagers or college kids.  You get together on the fly and just hang out.  If one person is going to the store, then everyone goes to the store, and then maybe everyone will go to a movie or go to a park and hang out.  I think of the difficulties involved in doing that with five kids, and I think, “Yikes.  Forget it.”  But I think it’s something we long for.  We want to have that true sense of community.

If church is going to be authentic, this is what our church communities ought to be like.

Categories: Ecclesiology Tags: , ,
  1. November 12, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Do I sound totally whiny emergent in this post or what?

  2. steph
    November 13, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Maybe you do but I don’t! I value my independence and solitude at times and I’ve never been keen on big gatherings. I prefer intimate affairs. 🙂

  3. November 13, 2008 at 9:42 am

    RT, I remember when I was a kid my parents took me to Mexico for a one month vacation. One of the memories I have is going to the Placita in the late afternoon and there was a big sense of community, nothing like I had ever experienced growing in So. Cal. My mom would tell me that everyone would come out and just hang around eat, talk, and watch the kids play. I remember her anticipation and her sharing with me how much she missed this.

    On Saturday mornings we open our church for anyone that wants to come and pray. What I like about this is afterward I get together with a few friends and we have coffee or breakfast. It really helps to some degree that sense of community.

    Steph, I don’t care for big gatherings either, but the experience that I shared above was not one of those big gathering where you feel like you are just wasting your time, it really was different. I love my solitude as well, trust me I would rather be alone reading a book than I would at a big gathering.

  4. Tom
    November 20, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I don’t see how we can ever be the “church”, as described as “living stones” or parts (including dishonorable ones) of a human body if we are unable to give up some liberty and autonomy in the interest of community.

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