I have a problem.
You see, I have a clear Christian theology about the importance of community. Community really matters to me and I have strong words for those nasty individualists who suggest that Christianity is all about Jesus and me. I love the idea of 'church' - of a radical counter-cultural community offering an alternative way of being-in-the-world.
That's not the problem. The problem is that my theology has yet to hatch out of its theoretical egg and actually do anything. I love the idea of Christian community but in practise I want to do community on my own. I am one of the nasty individualist Christians I so despise. And I suspect that I am not alone.
Taking community seriously - getting beyond ephemeral and superficial relationships - in the husslebussle of modern life is not easy. Unless we are intentional about it and make an effort then it simply will not happen.
Now I have lots of excuses. Some of them are the very real problems of the time and emotional pressures of work and family. I do not actually have a whole lot of time in which to take community seriously and I am not at all sure how to free up much time. But I've been saying that for years and unless I do something will be saying it in years to come (a lonely old fart with a hymn book - a slight exageration ... we use a powerpoint projector).
So - what I want to know is how people with busy work and family commitments (commitments that they have limited control over) can build community. Come on people! Help me out here! I want to hear stories of how some of you lot did it (or why you find it hard). What worked? What didn't? Dream some crazy dreams!
- Robin Parry
- Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).