Sunday, March 02, 2008

Community House Church: The Way of the Future

My church today asked the question, what is the importance of faith? According to the speaker, faith was what allowed his parents to boldly join a group of like-minded hippies and dedicate the next twenty years of their lives to a commune bent on embodying the Kingdom of Heaven on Elkhart, Indiana. Faith, he said, is a leap of trust, a decision to take a risk in search of the good life.

The discussion that followed veered sharply from "faith" to focus on the story of the commune: how the strains of resource allocation led to a strict male-dominated hierarchal governance, how shared parenting and close community provided an exceptionally nurturing environment for the children, and how the groups founders gradually abandoned their intentions to spend their whole lives together and migrated to new lands in search of new opportunities.

In its final strange twist, the discussion combined the topics of faith and community by asking, "Who are we? What does it mean for us to be a church?"

"Does anyone know if we have a statement of faith?" said someone. The answer was yes, but no one seemed to know what it said.

"Should we have a statement of faith?" said another. Consensus view was that statements of faith are good for little besides bickering.

"Then what defines us? To what standard do we strive?"

Well, next Sunday is planning Sunday. People who show up will get to talk about ways that they can contribute to the church activities in the next year. If no one volunteers, there will be no church. The church will be what we make it.

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