Lately I've been having a difficult time with community. I'm trying to organize some thoughts and hope to post on them soon, but here's some preview thoughts:
I am "a big fan" of community, or rather I understand and value, goal and purpose of community. However I'm concerned that we've boxed community up into a too comfortable package. Has community been worked into a theory or organized into a formula? Have we allowed community to become nothing more than an item on our religious, purpose-driven checklist? (Sorry about the purpose-driven jab, I've been reading Mark Buchanan and agree with him on the dangers of being 'anything'-driven...yet another post)
And what I'm most concerned about is that Jesus never spoke about "community". In fact the word "community" is only used once in the NT (at least the NIV) and in reference to the entire Jewish people. So why have we promoted community through small groups, backyard barbeque's and 11:00 services.
As best as I can recall Jesus never spoke of community, but he passionately prayed for unity [John 17:22]. What is the difference between the two?
Was community not spoken much about because if was already a cultural understanding? Community was expected in families, and in within your town/city, and by just being a Jew suggested a community.
And I suppose I also have some thoughts on how community should then be experienced. I'm not saying small groups are bad or wrong, in fact I'm in three. But what other means can the church use to help promote and participate in unity.