the weblog of Alan Knox

The perfect group

Posted by on May 20, 2008 in blog links, community | 7 comments

There is a very interesting discussion concerning community that was started by Erin at “Decompressing Faith” in a post called “A Place for Us“. Barb, at “A Former Leader’s Journey“, responded with her own post called “A Place for Us – Am I Really Ready?“. Barb ends her post with this question:

Do I long for the perfect group or am I willing to belong to and love regular people like me?

This is an excellent question! And, I think answering this question reveals what we believe about the church and about finding our identity and our fellowship in Christ.

I responded to Barb with this comment:

There is no perfect group. Period. The key to Christian community is not finding people who are like us, but finding unity and fellowship in Christ despite our differences. The problem is that we are taught that we have to be around people like us – and so we pretend to be like other and pretend that our lives are not a mess and pretend that our sins are acceptable and pretend that we care. When we can drop the pretension and love each other anyway because of who each one of us are in Christ Jesus… then we’re learning what it means to be a community.

So, I ask you… do we need to seek out “the perfect group” or “the perfect church”, or are we willing to live as the church with the imperfect people (like us!) that God has already placed in our lives?


7 Comments

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  1. 5-20-2008

    That’s it, Alan. Thanks for saying it! That’s the beautiful testimony that is Christian community.

  2. 5-20-2008

    Both/And?

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, but we first have to find that place where we are accepted warts and all. Easier said than done in my experience. See, I was willing to stay and accept and love all of the ugliness, but was asked not to stay because I wasn’t hard-nosed enough about people’s sin…

    I am complaining. I’m sorry. This entire conversation, while being so encouraging to me, has also brought up my own ugly: bitterness.

  3. 5-20-2008

    Erin ~

    Sounds like you got smacked down for being redemptive. That puts you in pretty good company. I am thinking, bring on the redemptive community.

    How can we combat our own pain and bitterness?

    I fell like i am stalking you all the way to Alan’s blog. :-)

  4. 5-21-2008

    Alan,

    Great response for anyone who has been battered for not wearing the status quo.

    Many of God’s greatest servants were such and held true to their convictions.

    “Perfect churches” are too busy preening their self perceived glorious plumage to have any ministry towards ordinary sinners saved by grace, nor can they understand those who treat fellow sinners with the same grace and mercy which Christ has bestowed on them.

  5. 5-21-2008

    in the book, no perfect llowed – this is echoed.

    however, whatever it looks like, i yearn for an uthentic community group and i am not there yet. i think by the fall, i will be, though.

  6. 5-21-2008

    *authentic

  7. 5-21-2008

    Some of the most difficult people I know and have a hard time relating to, are the very people God has placed in my life to gather with on a regular basis. I somehow find it humorous that the Father has a way of assembling us with the very people we have the most difficulty with. Does it have anything to do with making us more Christlike?

    P.S. I hope none of the people we normally gather with are reading these comments today!