Dave Black has once again written an extraordinary essay! Please take the time to read “Living Church“. My family had the opportunity to spend some time with the Blacks and some of his students last weekend. We had a wonderful time! While we were there, Dr. Black mentioned this upcoming essay.
In this essay we find a fallible man attempting to live as the church of Jesus Christ with other fallible people. Why does he keep trying to live in a community that may not follow his exact convictions? Because it is the community that God has placed him in. Why would he look for another one – as if another one would be perfect, without problems. If Dr. Black (or we) looked for a different community, that new community may not have the same problems, but they would still have problems. Consider his concluding paragraph:
I am blessed that God has placed me in such a caring community. Yes, it is a struggling community in many ways. The economy has gone south. Farming is difficult. The population is aging. The curse of Cultural Christianity gnaws away at the heart of our churches. But it is my community. It is where, on bright and cloudy days, I live and farm and assemble as the Body with my imperfect neighbors (none more imperfect than myself). In the final analysis, when all the scholars have had their say, and all the finer points of theology have been debated, and all the authorities have been consulted, nothing remains more basic yet more daunting than this amazing truth: Christians are called to live a life of utterly selfless love, and thus reflect the One who alone reigns over them in love. Just as amazingly, it seems that this life of love can be lived out regardless of the externals â€“ whether your church is age-integrated or age-segregated, elder-led or pastor/deacon led, highly programmed or non-programmed, etc.
I pray that we all learn to live in community like this – not looking for perfect people, but people who care and reflect Christ… and, more importantly I think, a community in which we can care for others and reflect Christ – even to those who may be different than us.