Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Building Community

People are everywhere. Just look around! People like you; People not like you. We all have much in common, and as much that differentiates us. But what would it look like if we exploited our commonalities and utilized our differences?

So often, it’s the opposite that resonates; We are apt to exploit what separates us and solely utilize our common traits. We congregate to those who look like us, think like us, act like us, believe like us. But when we surround ourselves only with those who compliment and not also with those who challenge us, we neglect an essential for living. We neglect Community.

Community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. On the surface, this definition contradicts the elements of Community I described above. And you are right for thinking that! For so long, we have let Community be defined for us. Our churches define it; Our friends define it; Our fear of being wrong defines it. We have let our differences drive us further from the common thread that should hold us together. The one thing that will remedy this is changing our way of thought.

Look again at the definition: Community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Here is how changing our mindset changes Community: Imagine if our common attitude was grace. 
What if we entered into relationship with each other harboring nothing but forgiveness? Could we save a few friendships that have dismantled? Would there be less regret taking residence in our hearts? I can’t disagree with the notion that grace covers a multitude of wrong doing. But if I practiced it, how different would I be?

Now suppose our common interest be Love. What if when assumptions were made, we only assumed the best of others? What would happen if those we see as in need, are instead seen as our brother, sister, father, or mother? What would happen?

Finally, when will we realize our Goal has always been common? Christ. When will we stop defining people denominationally and begin focusing on the resurrected life that binds us together eternally? When will stop focusing on sin, grasp the truth that judgement doesn’t result in absolution, and understand that condemnation only equates fear and dominion. Afterall…it’s in Christ that we are identified.

The longer I seek Community, the more I learn to appreciate questions over answers. If we quit the claim of always having the answer and let the questions that lead us to Christ be sought out together, we will finally discover the Community we have been called to live in with one another.

This is how Community is built.

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social (media) butterfly // writer // dreamer // advocate for the underdog