About Me

My photo
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).

Thursday, 25 September 2008

I Want to Live in Community ... on my own!

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!

4 comments:

John O. said...

Hot chocolate around a fire.

A weekly Bible study.

A pack of playing cards.

When it comes down to it, it's really just a matter of time and motivation.

Danny Zacharias said...

Perhaps your family is your community right now....

Nate Long said...

move into the same neighborhood as those you want to be in community with...pick up and move across the country to all go to the same school...temporarily suspend church attendance and instead meet together weekly (or more) in homes in an effort to figure out what being a community looks like and how it relates to being the church (instead of going to church)

I've done all the above - at the end of the day, it is a very counter-cultural thing to do, and unless one is extremely committed to it intellectually, the practical outworking is rough.

the theological fleshing out of why community is integral to the way of Jesus is also a prerequisite, otherwise people are always asking, "Why am I giving up these good things?"

Our lives are so filled with good (not intrinsically bad) things that there is no time, nor energy left for the best things.

Lyle Cross said...

The importance of having a community is, for one to not feel alone on what you believe, regardless if it's religious or out of common interest, being in one and having to interact with its members whether to discuss or debate an issue will make one feels like an individual in society. But I see nothing wrong if one can't give his full commitment to it due to work and family; those reasons should be understandable. After all, communities are build for members to support each other. Lyle @ TheInstituteFW.org