“It’s easier/more efficient/less expensive/faster/less complicated/less messy/more convenient to just do it myself.”
I rather doubt I’m the only one who’s made that statement. And about 99.8% of the time (if you want to get scientific about it) it’s absolutely true.
So why am I so bent on the idea of healthy, functional community?
Over the years I’ve been integral with forming many intentional small communities, if not the outright instigator. Few of them still operate in any capacity. Some of them worked for a season and then the season was over. More often, that “healthy and functional” part became a stumbling block. It’s a little difficult to form a healthy community if the community is weighted with unhealthy individuals who prefer dysfunctional relational behaviors and who resist efforts to move the community towards balance and wholeness.
Community isn’t easy. We’d like life to be one big episode of Friends or Cheers, but the truth is that when you put a bunch of quirky broken people together it usually magnifies the quirks and the breaks. And we’re all quirky and broken. Even you people who think you’re normal, because I gotta tell ya…normal is just plain weird.
God intended for us to live in community. We are wired to need one another. The attitude of “I just need God and God alone” is incredibly American in nature, rife with an isolationist, independent spirit that is not at all how God designed us to operate. There is a reason we are called the “body” of Christ. We need every part in order to be healthy and whole. We only get into trouble when we elevate the body over the Head. But when you get an itch on your knee, you can bet it’s not your head scratching it. The head is going to direct the hand to take care of that.
I am not sure why I’m thinking about this tonight. Maybe because I’m juggling a couple of small internet communities, and I’m wanting very much to offer them my best as well as spur them on to be their best. Or maybe because I’m struggling to feel settled into community locally, where what I have to offer is valuable and necessary and I’m not just one too many toes on a left foot, crowding the shoes.
Or maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. Because for all the grief I’ve suffered over community and the crazy soup that gets served with it, I always end up back in line, holding up my dish like Oliver Twist and asking for more.