Community, Social Justice, Giving and EvangelismLast time in part 3, I talked about "The Acts Community"(Link). This time I'm talking about a more personal community experience.
My Churches Experiment In Community
Years ago our church experimented with community.
The pastor of the time held it as a big part of his theology and put a significant amount of emphasis on it. There were even a couple of groups within the church that actually came together under one roof.
For a few year it worked rather well and most of those involved, still remember their time at “The Mustard Seed (the name of one of the communities) with great affection. But I guess the thing that is of note to me is that it did not. Yet in terms of the lessons learned, some have been long lasting.
Interestingly I was never able to convince the pastor of that time that we didn’t have to give up the community when we gave up the communal living. Both in Acts and even today, were there are communities that have lasted for generations, letting people have their own space in the form of their own living accommodation, is just as legitimate a form of community as is living under the same roof.
This pastor was and is not alone in this view; in that many, if not most of those I’ve come across who support communal living, seem unable to get their heads around the idea that, a community is not a community because people live under the same roof but rather because of what they hold in common.
Long term communities that continue to survive; such as the and Amish and the Israeli Kibbutz to name a few, whatever you think of their theology, all live in separate houses. It seems to me that rather than concentrating on a system of community that fails again and again, if we want long lasting community that makes the church so well off that everybody in had no needs; with all its benefits, we need to look to the forms of community that work and are long lasting.
Next time in part 5 I'll talk about the strong social justice emphasis of communal living.