The Evils of Community?


Tuesday, I wrote on the need for us Christians to understand that community and relationship with others is at the core of who we are as Christians, especially as it relates to the Great Commission and meeting the needs of others. You simply can’t have a ministry without people.

Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal ran a sidebar column that absolutely blew my mind. It shows exactly what we Christians are up against when it comes to fighting for depth in community. I almost never reproduce an entire article, but this one (“What’s Hurting America? Widespread Homeownership“) contains mind-boggling assertions in nearly every sentence:

Widespread homeownership has proven benefits for the nation but the Atlantic‘s Clive Crook says it brings some serious economic drawbacks with it. Citing research from Warwick University economist Andrew Oswald, Mr. Crook says the main problem with homeowners is that they are less mobile than renters. Less willing to leave their homes for greener pastures when the local economy falters, homeowners slow the nation’s economic growth and exacerbate unemployment issues by staying put. Communities of homeowners also often suppress new development by calling for new zoning rules.

On the plus side, homeowners are more invested in their communities, more likely to vote and work harder to improve their neighborhoods, but the overall societal good in homeownership isn’t clear-cut, Mr. Crook says. To that end, he questions the wisdom of the mortgage-interest tax deduction, a subsidy set up to ostensibly encourage widespread homeownership.

Mr. Crook said the deduction often promotes over-borrowing and higher spending, thus artificially increasing home values and placing borrowers in greater financial risk during downturns, such as the current housing market crunch. On a broader level, higher investments in housing †“ fueled by the tax deduction — come at the expense of investments in areas that expand the economy, such as commercial building and spending on business equipment, he says. — Troy McCullough

This is what we Christians are up against. If we fight tooth and nail to preserve our communities, we’re labeled “malcontents” for doing so. Bad! Bad house!We “exacerbate unemployment issues by staying put” and cause untold hardship fighting for zoning laws that restrict sprawl and consumerism.


Want to hurt the Church in this country even more? Increasingly force congregants to move every few years to chase jobs.

Want to bring most ministerial works within a church to a standstill? Keep changing the mix of people in the church so the wheel must constantly be reinvented.

At least nomadic tribesmen stay together as a tribe, but the kind of thinking listed in that article pretty much ensures alienation and disconnection.

Americans are already some of the most mobile people in the world. Studies show most families stay in one spot for less than seven years. Multiply that by a hundred families in a church and it’s no wonder little gets accomplished for the Kingdom. Everyone’s constantly on the move. People don’t get extended years ministering Christ to each other or to their communities.

This constant nomadic existence chasing fleeting jobs from one part of the country to another is why the Church in America MUST start speaking to issues of work and the revitalization of local and regional economies. The world is telling us that we can’t be good citizens if we want to put down roots and minister for years in the same community.

I’m not saying that we petrify in one spot. Even Jesus said that those of us who leave houses and lands for the sake of the Gospel will be blessed. Still, I suspect that most people in my town aren’t born again, so what is my obligation?

If my living situation is so transitory that I never truly get involved to any depth in the lives of those around me, then I’m less effective as a messenger of the Gospel. Just the disorientation of having to adjust to a new place means people who move are preoccupied with everything BUT ministry. The amount of bureaucracy and paperwork alone that accompanies moving within the same city is a nightmare, much less chasing jobs from city to city. That constant disequilibrium is the world’s way of distracting us from what truly matters.

We Christians have got to get serious about creating our own alternative/underground economy. We’ve got to be better networked so that people in our congregations don’t have to leave town to find work. We’ve got to start thinking of innovative ways to bring in income, even if it means exploring communal living arrangements that eliminate our need to duplicate goods to survive . If we can be freed of the need for the kind of jobs that force us to move from town to town looking for work, then let’s start working toward that goal.

I keep hoping and praying that someone on the national Christian stage will start speaking up about these issues. They play into the busyness that is crippling our effectiveness as the ambassadors of Christ in a dying world. If we’re constantly having to plan what city we’re going to move to next so we can follow the jobs willy-nilly, we’ll be distracted and ineffective our entire lives.

And that’s just what the Enemy wants.

(In similar news, it looks like we’ve been lied to for years about the lack of engineers and scientists in this country. If anything, there’s a glut. This hasn’t stopped Congress from continuing to demand H-1B visas to bring in more foreign workers to displace American engineers and scientists. I’ve been saying for years that the shortage of tech workers is a lie. Now the lie comes out. I think our government owes us former tech workers an enormous apology. If I had a Benjamin for every tech worker I’ve met who was forced into a nomadic existence to find work, or who bailed from tech altogether, I could’ve retired by now.)

20 thoughts on “The Evils of Community?

  1. Wolfgang Amadeus

    (In similar news, it looks like we’ve been lied to for years about the lack of engineers and scientists in this country. If anything, there’s a glut. This hasn’t stopped Congress from continuing to demand H-1B visas to bring in more foreign workers to displace American engineers and scientists. I’ve been saying for years that the shortage of tech workers is a lie. Now the lie comes out. I think our government owes us former tech workers an enormous apology. If I had a Benjamin for every tech worker I’ve met who was forced into a nomadic existence to find work, or who bailed from tech altogether, I could’ve retired by now.)

    The last job I had was in a “technical”position in a very large company that merged, and then started to offload to China and Mexico. One of the things they did- was offload my job completly. There were over forty thousend people dumped right after 9/11-that January in fact, from that area. It really hurt the economy-and we were told- that we would have to be re-educated in order to run our own business’s. What a laugh. Off we went to school- only to be told by the U.S. Job Security people in charge of this- that it was really a waste of time- since any degree under 2 years is basically useless in the job market. To go to college- is expenisve here, and the average displaced worker really cannot do it. So- many were left in the grip of unemployment- and when that wore out, there really wasn’t much left.
    The sad fact is, the industrial age is over. We now live in a technocratic world- that has become global. If you want a job- you must go some where else. Simple as that. Its expected. NAFTA has made it so you can. What is even sadder- is the wage that you will make, whereever you go, unless its an elite position, is going to be a lot less than what you did make. Any job I would get now, would pay me less than half of what I made prior to being offloaded. I would be lucky in fact to make that! Most jobs out where I live, are service oriented, pay less than five an hour-maybe seven fifty, have no benefits. The only jobs that I can see, that pay really well- are in the civic oriented jobs (which I am to old for, and also not a VET), and the medical industry. Yes, it is a medical industry incidently. Nomadism is the modern thing now- I knew it roughly fourteen years ago when I felt its death knells. The nineteen fifties concept of working eight hours a day, M-F at a job that you will have for forty years or more, is history. A person, will very likely have many different careers before they retire- if they retire. Chances are, the last job a person will have is to work as a greeter in a big,box, store-if they are lucky.

    My out look right now is not easy. It takes time to build up a business, and I am trying to learn something that will be there to fall back on. I need to get insurance- which isn’t going to be easy. As well as pay for some bills I have accrued. My retirement is all I have- and belive me- its tempting to pay the tax, and draw it out.

    Religeous impact? Well- if you work for a major industry- such as the aircraft industry, you will be expected to work seven days a week. They don’t care what your faith is. They care about stocks and bonds, and how much money they can make. You, as an employee, are just another part of building the product- and they can toss you out as quickly as they can put you there. No sweat. If you own a house- it doesn’t matter to them. Like those in the offloaded areas- some will live in a cardboard box to make what the company offers-right outside the fence. They just want you there when your shift starts. They would like no unions- and most of these areas that the company offloads to are nonunion. Yet we as Americans- still buy tickets to ride their product. Airbus looks better-everytime I consider its competition. Airbus workers at least get paid a living wage, and are unionized.

    Yes, how can one live any kind of life-when you cannot sustain your family, pay your bills, and go to church? When you are seeking a job- a job that will keep up with the cost of living, one that will surely lay you off in five or six years, you cannot do anything-except go day by day. I knew more divorced people where I worked. Their whole life became their job-some worked twelve hour days, seven days a week, even holidays. Money.

    No, if you are going to work in such an environment- don’t expect to be religeous. Your religeon is your boss’s priorities, and whether or not you get to work mandatory OT. Granted, you get paid the big bucks, but you lose something also. I lost my health. It wasn’t worth it belive me.

    Instead, I have found something good. I am a beliver in when the door shuts another one opens. Its with this hope, that I go on.

    Life is sweet, if one allows it.

    Our world is definitly changing, and it will be very different for our kids. Industry will be different. It will be robotic-totally. Many jobs will be gone-many to robots. What will be left is managerial, more than likely, and there are many young people from Asia, that will fill those openings. They are highly educated, young, and ready to dedicate themselves to that. I have no idea what lies there for our kids. Hopefully, they will be able to participate in the economy of this nation.

    As for an underground economy. Well, some church communities all ready have that. Its not really underground either. Its there. The sad thing is- in this country, it is used only for those on the street. In my church, we are admonished to put aside things, to be prepared for situations such as this, to also be able to help others in need if something happens-such as an earthquake, or even an economical collapse. We are encouraged to be self-sufficient as far as having the necessities- and that even includes an extra copy of the scriptures in that kit. Sometimes, in a situation, the Word can be the most comforting thing there is.

    People do long for a different type of life. Our children exhibit it by their need to look “retro”. We did it also- wanting to be “retro” fifties. Only in our case- we really wanted to bring it all back, and for awhile, back in the nineties, we almost did. I saw more traditional families in the late eighties and nineties than in any period of my life. People went to church, their children, were homeschooled with Christian Texts, as well as books from the late nineteenth centruy, such as McGuffeys readers and General Education books. Interestingly enough, many of these children grew up, and went on to the Ivy leagues and other big colleges. Some didn’t. Some went into the ministry, or married.. whatever, for the most part, they were very well educated. Even today, I see and know children who are home educated- and their parents, are church goers. However, they too, are still part of the Nomad culture-just simply due to the economic climate here locally.

    The culture out where I live, is mostly agricultural. There is some factorial/manufacturing jobs-but not many. Anything that was decent- has laid off so many workers, both professional and blue collar, that it has swamped the market. The housing situation has bottomed out, and some of these souls cannot even sell their homes and move on.
    Great scenario eh?

    Lots of Churches however, and I do know, that many of them, help their parishioners as well as others in need.

    Yes, its hard to establish a good foundation when you must move. Its a fact of life now, not one that I like. If you must work outside the home, that is the life to expect. I imagine, that many smaller churches really get hit hard when the layoff cycles hit-the bigger ones, tend to be a little more stable. I live in a religeous belt. A big,fat one. I am sure, that in those communities, there is help for those whom need it-as well as guidence, when they have to move, to another, sister church.

    Oh well. Great Article Dan! I can go on, and on with this rant.


  2. David Riggins

    Well, when one looks at it from a purely economic standpoint, home ownership is problematic. From a human perspective, stable, static community is far more conducive to mental and social health. The focus of the WSJ article of course, is the mortgage interest tax write-off. The focus of Clive Crooks article in the Atlantic is unknown because I don’t have a subscription. It is most likely something else entirely. Which is the danger of newspaper articles about other journal articles: An opinion of an opinion is bound to be skewed.

    But, more to the point. It is against the best interests of big business to have an independent consumer. Just like it is against the best interests of political parties to have an independent constituency. The world turns upon dependency, from drugs to junk food, an addicted society is a controllable society. If a person owns a home, they are able to weather fluctuations in the labor market. But a renter needs a job like an addict needs a fix. Someone in need is easier to direct. And will settle for less.

    What has thrown a cog in the works is the lack of self-control of the American consumer. Whereas home ownership in the past created stability, today, due to the thirst for ever larger homes and ever lower payments, the home owner has, in effect, become a perpetual renter, but this time at the mercy, not of landlords, but of investment pools. (This is why I find this article is so interesting.) Mortgages today are held, not necessarily by a bank or mortgage company, but by a pool of investors. Sometimes the path to the investor is so convoluted that more than one investment pool can hold one mortgage. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me.

    More and more, as morality gets shunted aside, right-and-wrong decisions are simply not being made. The end result is that people are sacrificed on the alter of “The Economy, Stupid” because keeping the economy well-oiled and operating smoothly becomes more important than keeping us mere humans societally healthy. As the WSJ shows, the benefits to the economy outweigh the benefits to the community.

    But that is the nature of the enemy we fight against. Christians have to learn that the Spiritual battle that surrounds us is shown most often in “worldly matters” and not necessarily in those things we consider “spiritual.” While we struggle with “issues of faith” life happens. The economy, and how it affects us, is as important to our spiritual walk as reading our bible and spending time in prayer, because how we react to the world around us is how we preach the Word to others. Far more persuasive than our words are our actions, and if we live like everyone else, than our words will have no effect. If we live like we mean the words we say, then people will take notice. The crux, of course, is that the notice we attract may not always be positive. We need to be ready for that, too.

    • David,

      I am more and more convinced that restoring local and regional economies is the way to go. Everyone benefits when the jobs and money stay locally. Where is there NOT a local or regional market? Perhaps in the most desolate spots on Earth, but otherwise they’re there. This madness of shipping our money all over the world can only hurt the local consumer. I’m not saying that I don’t buy bananas because they aren’t local, only that I don’t make bananas the nexus of my eating and purchasing habits. Getting us out of global markets may come about if the dollar continues to drop like a rock, but then again, that won’t matter much if our trade imbalances and debt remain inflated. We need to do something proactively, especially in the Church, before it’s too late to fix the problem.

  3. Susy Flory

    My little local community newspaper yesterday ran a man-on-the-street column. The question, posed to 6 people, was “Do you know your neighbors?” Five of the six said no, we’re all too busy, they seem to avoid me, I have nothing in common, and more. One person “sort of” knew her neighbors. I’m wondering how we can love our neighbors if we don’t know them?

    Great post,

    • Suzanne

      Well, heck, it’s easier to love them if you don’t know them. That’s why we have the megachurches where the pastor doesn’t really have to know the people, just the hand picked people around him, and the programs. You know, the old saying that goes something like “I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand.”

    • Susy,

      Yeah, that’s shameful. We should not only know their last names, but their first names and even birthdates. The card we send may be the only one they receive. (I need to do better at that last part myself.)

      In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote that a person’s name is one of the most powerful aspects of their humanity, so people love to hear their own names spoken. We would do well to remember others when the rest of the crowd has forgotten them. Despite having a good memory, I do poorly with names and must write them down. There are people in my church whose names I still do not know, especially the children. I need to do better at remembering. We all do. One of the best ways to do this is to talk with people and use their names in conversation. That not only helps us remember their names, but opens us both up to conversation, the lifeblood of relationship.

  4. Connie Reagan

    Well, I dunno…I live in a military town (Believe me, you’d recognize the name of the base.) Our church only has the majority of folks for a few years. They redeem that time, train up leaders, and when Uncle Sam moves them out, they are quite useful where they wind up going.

    The truth is our hope is in God. Not the economy. Not our jobs. There will ALWAYS be some sort of turmoil in life to deal with. But He forever remains the same-always faithful. He was faithful to us when my husband worked those six and seven day a week jobs just so we could eat and raise our babies. He was faithful when I too had to work -third shift- so I could be there for my kids during the day. Those were excrutiatingly hard years. But the Lord brought us through them.

    He is faithful.

  5. mark sullivan

    I just found your blog yesterday, and really enjoy it. I have traditional conservative agrarian tendencies myself. This article really punched some of my buttons. The whole society is so nomadic, that nothing is stable at all. this experience is unique in human history. People have moved around all through history, but the tended to move as family, and kin groups. This thing of your children moving 1000 miles away in every direction, is unknown in human history. Jobs come and go. Church congregations constantly change and shift. It’s like that song “He’s a real nowhere man, sitting in his no where land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody” I am tired unto death of the powers that be, demanding that we all kiss the toe of the new baal god, Capitalism”. I was reading a more Libertarian blog a few weeks ago, and everbody was puffed up about how wonderful we have it these days, and how lucky we are, how bad it was for our ancestors, Etc. Etc. Etc… I pointed out in the comments, that if you were to go back to say, 1830 New England, and bring someone back to the future with you, he would likely find this a crowded noisier, uglier world, after the technological glamour wore off. He lived in a pastoral, quiet world, with family and friends the same all his life, most of the time, with handmade, human scaled objects around him, and a web of relationships, and helpful neighbors, that today those same puffed up youngsters could not even imagine. Yeah, they worked awful hard, and medical care, and sometimes education wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t a lonely life. I always tell people, if you want to see hoew people felt about thier world, pick up one of the diaries from the past, like Jane Austens diary, there are several others, from the last few centuries. Because they were meant only for the writers eyes, they are totally honest about the day to day world the writer lived in. You will find that they had lives that were filled with human relationships. And, often, much joy. They are filled with sadness, and tradgedy, too, but what struck me, is how little of loneliness is mentioned. they couldn’t be, most of the time, with all the family, friends, village get togethers, funerals, weddings, births, planting and harvests, barn building, etc. You get the point. Staying in one place, is good for human beings. Making a living, and the Church. And family. Now, even our jobs are constantly changed too, and this is “bad for the economy” if we stay put? How you hold a civilization together like this for very long, I don’t have a clue, especially when the “influential Classes” are so clueless themselves.

    • Wolfgang Amadeus

      My people came from a very imperial world, a city with many, many people. In fact, in the 1780’s, it was as neopolitan as any big city of our day. My ancestor wrote an amazing diary,not to mention letters, from the time he was six, outlining all his activites, surrounding, people he met and knew, his love life, his sicknesses, his family, as well as his employment situations, which up until he died were rather worldly. What is neat about it- is that it does give a glimpse of what Europes world was like back then-what it was like to read and talk about the Revolution and Yorktown, and the budding new world- America. He wanted so despartly to be able to go there one day-sadly his bad health prevailed, and he died before he could enjoy his dream come true.

      Having been lucky enough to study, as well as own these diarys, I have found that life back then- perhaps wasn’t so bad. It was just as complex, as hard, not to mention trying to succeed in ones career if one were an Artist or Musician. Freelancing was unheard of back then. My ancestor holds the distinction of being one of the first to attempt it, and rather successfully too.

      What I am trying to say, I guess is, that yes, the world was different some two hundred years ago. Perhaps it was better- but there were things that were not as good. Living conditions for the most part in Wien, were OK- for someone of his class. For those of lesser class, however, life wasn’t as good. It was hard for them.

      Those whom were farmers- for the most part were elite-and hired people to work the land. Vineyards were another things that seemed to be a big deal- in mediterrainian climate such as what is had in Wien during the Summer and Spring months.

      Salzburg, of course, was a religeous mecca- not knowen for much else other than salt. Yes, it was a big city in its day-still is, but as I said- like Wien, a collage town, as well as a church town.

      It is my belief-= because of what I know, that in that day, one could be just as nomadic as people are now. My ancestors father was more worried about finding a position for his son, at a royal, imperial court, than say, keeping him at home, from the time he was thirteen on. Here, in America-that attitude hasn’t pervailed for at least 150 + years. He didn’t care where it was- as long as it was work. It could be in St. Petersburg Russia- as long as it was work. Can you imagine how awful that would be, to be working at some King or Emperors court at 13? Never to see your family again? Talk about nomadic. 😛

      -as example- his family, left Augsburg-which is the family seat, and moved to Salzburg. Salzburg offered his father a position with good pay. Enough to raise his family and keep his wife comfortable. Of both children, one married to a petty noblemen, whom she didn’t like, and she bore him a child-he already had children from a previous wife. Needless to say, this was an arranged marriage- not one of love. The other- went on to Wien, married a young women who was sister to a women he had dated, and they had children- only two surviving. The father made a couple of trips-tried to bring the family back together again, but the animosity was to great,and they remained separated. Both died-the father never seeing his son again, and the son, never seeing any of his family again. Totally nuclear. So, technically, the separation started before 1782. Its not much different today, the son or daughter, end up leaving in the late teens, early twenties.. and don’t seem to reunite with parents again until wedded and grandchildren come.

      The nomadism however, still seems to be well engraved upon our soul.
      Man has been nomadic from the moment go. When some of that changed, it was due to the advent of farming- a more sentient lifestyle that precluded having to search for tubers and fruits- and scavange for food, not to mention hunt it. Farmers still hunted, but the wandering slowed down. Families tended to stick together. When villages added market stalls, and market days, people took to becoming store keeps, they just sold product, they didn’t farm. Well, I need not give a history lecture here, but what I am trying to say is- with the advent of the city, the nuclear family was born. It hasn’t died yet-sadly, it just has become more prominant, and with the economy going through a massive change, going from that of a manufacturing economy, to a technological economy, these things happen. 🙂

      I look to see it get worse, before it gets better.


  6. Dan,

    We are really tracking on the same idea. I have no idea what this means economically, but as to the church and discipleship I could not agree more. We are a throw away, transitory, nomadic people continually in search of the better life and this impermanence is having a drastically negative effect on the church. I am in the process of writing a post about this very thing, and will try to come back and leave a link.

    I just wish I had some answers!

  7. This is a great topic. I graduated college in 1993 and there isn’t a corporate company I’ve worked for that hasn’t downsized. I don’t expect to retire with a company. I know I’m on my own there. I turned to working for the church and it was the worst experience of my life. (By the way, it was a mega church.) I’m convinced the church is truly Christ in us. We are in a transition period where once we relied on the church for our spiritual growth and walk in life. Now we are going to have to truly rely on our relationship with Christ and read the word for ourselves rather than have it preached to us because we are moving around so much and being uprooted from our communities and extended families.

    God opened the door to a nonprofit company. I’ve managed to stay in my home state, but I had to move to the largest city in order to make what was necessary to keep my family going while my husband got his business up and running. We were buying a home where we were, but now we are renting because we didn’t know if we would like the community, the schools, or stay here. Our heating/cooling system went out last week without a warning. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is that it’s not my problem. Just call the rental company and let them put in a new system. Need a new roof, not my problem anymore. Don’t get a tax break? Big deal. I don’t have to pay homeowner’s insurance either. If I don’t like my daughter’s middle school next year, we’ll move and I don’t have to worry about selling the house and getting stuck with two mortgage payments. No one can annex my house and make me pay double taxes like they did before. I so much better off. My community and neighbors are wherever I am. I know my neighbors better now than I did at the house we owned. No one was nice and friendly there. No children to play with my daughter. The grass really was greener on the other side–this time! 🙂

  8. Rural Lady

    Before everyone gets all nostalgic for the good old days, let me tell you that I live in a fairly stable, rural, very Christian community, and while it has it’s strong points, many of which were discussed already, it is certainly not heaven on earth. We aren’t from here, which, after 20 years, still makes us outsiders. I’ve heard stories about the enormous annual consumption of homemade whiskey in the not so distant past by the community leaders and others, almost all church members. A elderly neighbor commented to me a few years ago that the community didn’t have people “go nuts” as often as they once did, pointing out all the people from the area that had committed suicide. People seem to keep close ties, but some of that is not because they necessarily want to, but because they don’t know anything else. There is quite of bit of fear and many misconceptions about the world outside our community. Our little town is having trouble with economic development, in part, I truly believe, because they can’t understand why a business wouldn’t want to locate here. So businesses close, and none take their place, because the community leaders don’t understand that compared to many other communities, we have little to offer. (Hopefully, I’m being somewhat coherent). There is also a large Amish population near here, and while they take care of their own, there is also quite a bit of abuse and genetic defects due to intermarriage among them.

    Just my two cents worth. Community, I guess, is what you make it, wherever you are.

    Interesting blog, by the way.

    • Wolfgang Amadeus

      Rural Lady,
      Just because you might live in a small community such as the Amish, doesn’t mean you-because of whom you have married, will produce a child with Genetic abnormalities. Genetic abormalities can come from many things.

      In my family, there are several genetically traced abnormalities-going back almost ten generations. We’re not Amish. Nor have we lived in a small community. Its just the luck of the toss, and now its permanatly there.

      My people have been city dwellers now for almost three hundred plus years. Most all of them affluent-as well as minor peerage.

      As I said- it was just the luck of the toss.


      • Rural Lady

        I’m sorry you misunderstood, I never meant to imply that living in a small community brought on genetic problems. I just meant that often the Amish are held up as the epitome of communal living, but that, as with almost everything in this fallen world, there is a downside. I know genetic problems can crop up anywhere, but there is a larger than normal incidence of it among populations such as the Amish who intermarry fairly regularly. It is simply a fact, not a judgement.

  9. Cheryl

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time myself in small rural communities. My last abusive church was in one. Anti-intellectual,ingrown,no outward focus,isolation.. Taking shots at people in the ‘big city’,ethnocentric.

    If I ever have to move again to a location lke that I am going to investigate fully many things before I plant roots for the long haul. Emotionally I am not sure I could endure it again. How missionaries manage sometimes I don’t know,but the comment above about being a missionary within your own community does…..WOW.

  10. Dan,

    I would agree with your article in it’s entirety if I agreed with the basic underlying proposition that the Church is functioning as it should.

    I live in Bible Belt America with Churches on every corner and a program dedicated to virtually every aspect of life. Everything is branded, promgrammed, structured, and marketed. Yet there is still a surprising lack of depth of spiritual life. People tend to feel that religious activity is the essence of ‘reconciliation to God.’

    Speaking as a person who grew up in church and have been a regular attender/church member my whole life with a small hiatus of about 4 years in College. Yet I struggle with connecting with people. I have seen the same people for years and know a lot about them but the human ability to hide the status of our soul from those around us is incredible. So I am not sure that more of what we already have is the answer.

    When I think on the early years of the Church, Jersusalem was sacked in 70 AD forcing the church to spread out. Jesus said that we would be His witnesses (witness also = the word martyr) in Jersusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the utter most parts of the earth. By the year 70 there was a total concentration on Jerusalem at the expense of Judea, Samaria, and the uttemost parts of the earth.

    Here are some hypotheticals:

    1. A mobile society could create an eager desire for true community versus a false version that seems to connect but really doesn’t. We assume that intimacy takes a long time. The reason it takes a long time is because of people’s reluctance to be real. This kind of suffering could create an angst and force an introspection that is not necessary right now thereby force an opening of the soul earlier in the game.

    2. A mobile society will be hard for sure. But because of the difficulty the ‘sheeps in wolves clothing’ may be exposed thereby protecting and purifying the bride of Christ, namely the Church. Phillipians 1:29

    3. A mobile society in today’s world could create an interconnectedness within the body of Christ unseen in history. For example, let’s say I connect with a group of friends in Baltimore and pour out my life for 3 years then I am transferred to Seattle. Then I begin to develop relationships in Seattle while continuing a relationship in Blatimore with the internet, cell phones, flights, etc. Now I am connect in Baltimore and Seattle. Suddenly if my friends in Baltimore fall in hard times they have a home now in Seattle and vice versa.

    If we are supposed to care for each other how can we know of the needs if we do not see them face to face? If we do not take initiative then perhaps it is necessary to force a more mobile society. (not that we force it but perhaps God forces the issue)

    Now there is a flip-side the will get me branded as a heretic and cause much anger. But I respectfully ask anyone reading this comment to consider, pray, and wrestle with the issue. The bible tells us to ‘let no debt remain outstanding expect a debt of love.’ Also the bible tells us that the borrower is slave to the lender.

    Jesus told us a parable of the sower and the seeds. There was a type of soil that had thorns that choked out the Gospel. Do you remember what the thorns were? They are the ‘pleasures, cares, and riches of this world.’ Hmmm.

    1 Tim 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. Emphasis mine.

    I don’t bring all of this up to say that your proposition is wrong only to say you may not necessarily be right and there is much more to consider.

    Peace out

  11. Pingback: Something to consider « Susannah Prill’s Weblog

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