The following is a guest post by Tyler Recker.
There’s this book sitting here on my desk that I’m mad at. When I finished the fall semester of school, I was ecstatic at the possibilities of being able to read anything I wanted. And I knew I wanted to tackle this one because I’ve been a big fan of the idea of community that we see in the book of Acts but, in my humble opinion, rarely see in Gwinnett. So I was stoked (synonym of “excited”) to get into Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together”.
But I’m mad at the book because just a few pages in it hit me with this:
“Every human wish dream that is injected into Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.” (p. 27)
It was through this wisdom that God convicted me that too often I’ve wanted to be involved with a community of believers that functions like the church did in Acts, but I really wasn’t acting like a believer did in Acts.
I’ve often lamented the individualism of the suburbs, and I think that is a holy discontent, but the issue is that I’ve seldom worked to be a part of the Kingdom change that the New Testament describes, opting instead for dreams of what it might look like.
But we’re moving on from there. We’re moving from dreams and talk to action. You can get in on it too. (Truth is, some of you have been in on it long before I realized my own ridiculousness.)
So, for starters, here are some things that we are doing to increase our connectedness with folks so that we are spending more than 2 hours a week together, but rather we are living “life together”.
- We’ve seen a great deal of bonds formed and strengthened by opening up our home for meals on Sundays for lunch. In doing this, Leah and I sought to spend some time with folks we didn’t quite know as well as the “usual suspects”. We’ve loved it. Each of the conversations had a great mix of small talk, spiritual discussion, and laughing. Once we had this great problem: We couldn’t get the folks we’d invited to leave ! I won’t call them out. Man, it’s been great.
- The guys in our BASE group are talking and experimenting with what it looks like to encourage and exhort one another in the Gospel. By the time this posts, we will have had our first meeting centered around this idea. (I’ll keep our location a secret, but it’s not Burger King, because that’s disgusting.)
- We’ve joined together with other folks for hobbies that we enjoy. In middle school and high school, this would have been a no-brainer, but as adults, it’s easy to isolate and want to have time alone. It’s helpful that we don’t have cable, because it means that for me to watch a football game, I have to go to someone else’s house. Likewise, Leah enjoys hobbies with others at the same time.
Today, as I write this, I was privileged to enjoy the community of some really great dudes for breakfast at a local Mexican place (they called it “lunch”, but I had just woke up and it was my first meal of the day). I was reminded of something else that Bonhoeffer wrote about how community isn’t something that we create, it’s a reality that we have to walk in:
“We thank God for what He has done for us. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by His call, by His forgiveness, and His promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what He does give us daily.”
…and when my perspective changed, I’m realizing that He’s surrounded my wife and I with a wonderful community.