8.12.05

Learning community - Jesus Army Life, Day 146

We have a 'community evening' coming up. It's an opportunity for both outsiders and insiders to find inspiration about living in a community. The insiders need inspiration as much as the outsiders do.

My concern is that the inspiration for those who don't live in community is very different from what is needed by those within.


For outsiders it's easy: share with them the challenge of Acts 2 and 4, talk about Paul's command of generosity and hospitality, talk about households of saints, talk about Jesus' common purse and his promise of lands, sisters, mothers, brothers (and persecutions), talk about how he said foxes have holes but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Talk about justice, equality, brothers in unity, a sense of peoplehood. Talk about the glory, power and wisdom of God manifesting itself in a society apart from the world. That's obvious.

My esteemed friend feels that all this, "communicated in the Spirit" is enough for old stagers to be inspired too. My position is different. I think that there is a problem when they've heard it all before. They're more likely to switch off. And community folk are doing it anyway so why how much can you inspire them with a message they are already obedient to? The inspiration needed for community folk has to answer the challenges not just dole them out.

The folk I live with every day need to know more about 'overcoming the world', especially when they still encounter its spirit-numbing poison. They need the encouragement to keep going through the joys and pains and the motivation to dig deeper into the reality of "dying so that others might live". They are desperate to be reminded that they too are only beginners at loving others, have barely plumbed the depths of brotherhood unity, are still needing to learn to live in the power of the life of the Holy Spirit. This is not the milk of basic teaching but the solid food of full understanding we're talking about.

And my real bugbear is that community really needs to be experienced, another 'talk' simply does not compare.