Thursday, April 21, 2005

Thoughts on Community

Two of my colleagues were talking about a conference they attended earlier in the week about small groups and community life. In the context of some other thoughts, they told a story about a church in Texas where several families had chosen to pass up job transfers that would have meant $15-20,000 pay increases, in order to stay in the city they were living in because they felt like God was doing a work there and was using them in a way that they didn't want to walk away from. (Actually, I guess the point is, it had nothing to do with their "wants" but that they felt compelled.) You know, when I chose the land that we built our house on, I chose it because I liked it. I chose it becuase of its proximity to a state park, to Peoria, and to my job. Honestly, I don't ever remember thinking about my location and kingdom impact. (Now, to be fair, I think God has us in the perfect place for us, surrounded by other young families...but that's got more to do with God than it has to do with my desire to seek out the best place.) I guess the reason I'm posting this, is that it gives me a lot of hope -- that there are Christians out there who will choose hard things for the sake of the kingdom of heaven over the kingdom of the american dream. I'm not saying that we never move, or that our decisions never benefit us in some way, but I guess I wish that there were more people (myself included) who really take seriously what it means to be citizens of heaven living in a foreign land. ps. I think in general, most pastors are unbelievably hypocritical in this arena. On one hand they get upset that parishioners that move away or switch churches, and yet most pastors move every couple of years. I think we move more than ever in the history of the world, and yet we probably also feel less connected to our fellow human beings than ever before, and yet we continue to sell our souls for the sake of the American Dream...what does that say about us? If this post steps on anyone's toes, I'm sorry...I don't mean to be a jerk, it's just what I was thinking about.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Right on.
I once heard of a neighborhood that had a few members of a church that really wanted to do something radical. Instead of everyone owning their own washer/dryer, lawnmower, etc., everyone on the block made an agreement to share those large appliances. If something needed replaced, everyone just pitched in. Not only would that be an incredible community (Acts 2-style), but it also flies in the face of the individualistic American dream.