Bobby at “Deconstructing Neverland” has written a very good post called “You Don’t Know Jack.” The point of his post is that we often recognize (through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit) our need for relationships with others, especially others who are in Christ. However, in a desire to create those relationships, we often end up with something much less.
In fact, often when we create things to “build community,” we build a semblance of community that simply hides our lack of real community in Christ.
For example, Bobby writes:
That is precisely the dilemma one faces as they venture out in search for community in church life. Anyone who has Christ in them has this intrinsic desire for deep fellowship and community with other believers. It’s evident by the programs and meetings we plan and put together. There are community groups built around all sorts of interests and needs. People get together for bible studies, accountability, addiction recovery, marital status, and many other commonalities. I’ve been a part of each of these types of groups. The problem is that these groups do not form lasting communities, at least not in my experience…
We don’t know how to be transparent and honest with one another. What we know is what we’ve been trained for. We know how to hide our struggles and put on a happy face. We like our shallow conversations.
Shallow conversations are comfortable and safe. They can make us feel good about ourselves and others. We can pat each other on the back and call ourselves “community.”
But, when it comes down to it, we all recognize the difference. (And, by the way, those outside the church recognize the shallow relationships among Christians also.)
Community – even shared lives in Jesus Christ – takes time. It takes time because we must move beyond the shallow conversations: “How are you?” “Fine. And you?” “Fine.” We must be willing to ask each other difficult questions and share the “trash” (as Bobby calls it) from our own lives. And this is extremely important – we MUST offer each other the same grace that God has offered us in Jesus Christ.
Read Bobby’s post and then consider the question that he asked: “What are you going to do about it?”