Monday, February 28, 2011

Community 2

And besides the church chatter, have you talked to many average members lately? After years of pouring themselves into accountability groups and life groups and every other kind of group we have offered, many are just disappointed. They just haven’t had the experience they were hoping for.

This is not true for everyone for all times. I have been in groups that have changed my life in significant ways. I know you have too. I am talking in generalities that I am observing and hearing about.

Just observing the situation is one thing. Thinking through the why’s and looking for the what if’s and what’s next is tricky. But I have some thoughts roaming around in my head that I am still trying to land. I am hoping to explore a few more thoughts on this in different blog posts. I am thinking through the following thoughts:

1.Control: In community we still control how confessional we are. We are the gatekeepers of how much we put out there regardless of the community we find ourselves in.

2.Woundedness: Should our starting place shift in our desire for confessional community. Instead of assuming confession is going to flow in groups, should we focus on equipping individuals in self awareness so they know their wounds, know their behaviors that flow out of their wounds and can then begin the healing process.

3.Truth Asking: One hears a lot about Truth Telling. Usually defined something like this: I see behavior in your life and because of our covenant in community I get to share truth with you about your attitudes and behaviors. What if we transition to Truth Asking? Asking each other about the traps and triggers in our lives and not fearing the messiness of the answer. Truth Asking assumes one will walk the road of struggle with another without fear or judgment. It also assumes that we all in our brokenness have a road to walk.

4.What Are the Barriers to Confessional Community: I am struggling with an idea that I am still thinking through. In our attempt to Christianize our lives we have taken parenting, marriage, and finances and made them into indicators of our spirituality or maturity. An entire culture has developed around the family that has deified it to something I am not sure God ever intended. Perfection in parenting, marriage and financial management has solidified the “appear as all is great” mentality that permeates many Christian communities. What happens when you are not doing so well? Who is brave enough to stand up and say it? How can we grow confessional communities in the midst of the pseudo-perfection we seem to value. Does it really matter that you have no debt if you are bitter and not compassionate to the alien. Somewhere along the road, we have gotten distracted.

So.....I am asking God to help me discern through this muddle of thoughts.


3 comments:

Michele Fant said...

Great post, Arlene. You gave me a lot to think about.

Jim Martin said...

Arlene, I just read both of your posts on community. These are outstanding! You have done some very good reflection and thinking.

In particular, I was struck by your observations regarding our approach to marriage/parenting, etc. I really think you are on to something.

I hope you will continue to write concerning this. Thanks!

satire and theology said...

'And besides the church chatter, have you talked to many average members lately?After years of pouring themselves into accountability groups and life groups and every other kind of group we have offered, many are just disappointed. They just haven’t had the experience they were hoping for.'

Good point. I have found close friendships in Christ usually bring about better results for me personally.

I am not against the groups, however.