God has created us to be…
One of the greatest potentials we have been given is our capacity to live in community, and it is only by accepting this gift and living it out that we become fully human and fully Christian.But to become a whole person we must choose to live in a community which exists to empower its members, to make them whole.
Such communities must be formed intentionally, for virtually all existingcommunities are founded on the assumption that human communities can onlysucceed by placing the community’s needs ahead of its individual members’needs, and by forcing dissidents to conform. That assumption is based on a cer-tain realism, for communities made up of people acting only in self interest dorequire constant coercion to keep them from disintegrating into chaos.But by making conversion and prayer central to your lives you have the ca- pacity to create entirely new kinds of communities… which exist to empowerand free their members. That is the kind of community Christ created, and by following Christ without compromise you can do the same.”
‘Benedict’ confirms what O’Donohue intimated: the capacity to live incommunity is the pathway to becoming fully human, fully Christian. Moreover, aChristian community must exist to empower its membership, to make them whole.Denied this by the institution, which seeks to be served, rather than to empower,our Christianity, our conscience, our humanity is compromised. Benedict suggestChrist instituted a different sort of community, one towards which our sense of belonging, our “longing to belong” is surely, today, drawing us.
Finding A Way Forward
Many, probably most, people will continue belonging to the church-as-an-institution, without compromising themselves or their consciences. They willcontinue to be instruments of renewal and revitalisation whatever path theinstitution takes. They have the inner liberty to resist ‘enslavement’ to theinstitutional spirit and are contented with the level of community interactionoffered by this arrangement.Others will continue to feel ‘enslaved’ or, at least, highly compromised,yet find themselves unable to take the risk of leaving behind institutional forms of church. Still others will reject all forms of institutional Christianity altogether.Both these groups will have embraced a deep form of cynicism that will continueto undermine their inner liberty and, ultimately, their humanity.A few will decide that the call of church-as-a-community is to be pursuedin a new way – without the trappings of institution. That it is worth breaking outof comfortable patterns and routines and safe harbours to undertake a journey to
Are You Thinking about New Ways to ExpressChristianCommunity?
Are you wanting discover how to be more authentic in Christianliving? To experience a depth of worship that flows through all of our lives?I believe that a fresh, new approach to Christian community livingcan begin to be imagined and lived out by understanding some of theprinciples of “Open-Source” — a new way of thinking and co-operating that ispowering new technologies and resource use, throughout the world — themost prominent example being open-source software — the kind of softwarethat increasingly powers the Internet.First, some background information about why this may be relevant…
Open Source Community