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August 17, 2005



Hi Caroline,

Do u mean that u are gonna carry on this discussion for 6 months or so - or that u have decided to drop out for 6 months?


Oh no, I'm just going to give myself some time to think and pray through what could be done, rather than just rush out and do the first thing that occurs to me. No, I'll be blogging about this and thinking out loud both here and at Organic Church.


Hi Caroline

This sounds very interesting (and challenging). I'm looking forward to reading more as your journey progresses.

Ruth S

Hmmm, interesting Mr Bond.

I wonder if part of the problem is that church has defined 'community' as those with whom we do the 'gathering, singing songs, listening to a guy drone on for 20 mins...' thing. As opposed to ? Jesus said our neighbours were those we reached out to. I'm thinking of 'The Good Samaritan story here', and perhaps this is why the secular world is so sceptical of community. Church has many negative connotations attached to it for people such as conformity, conditional acceptance, linguistical barriers and not to mention mere culture shock.

The thought of going into a room full of strangers doing strange things is as appealing to 'un-churched' as me going and sitting on the kerb and hanging out with the yoof there.

So, I applaud your desire to do new things. Christ's body is sorely in need of people who will.

Not sure about the whole authority thing though. Having had a very negative experience with a church movement that were heavily into that. Perfectly nice people with the capacity to screw your head up!

So, I will reserve judgement on that. I'm still trying to see how it all fits in and what Jesus taught. I think we tend to interpret it through a very victorian perception, which has got terrifically skewed down the line.

My fav verse is 'submit to one another'. That seems far healthier than having a 'shepherd'?!

Sorry, gone on there a bit.


I totally resonate with your comments about authority, Ruth, especially if they emerge from 'shepherding'. Too often this is oppressive not emancipatory. The kind of 'authority' I'm talking about is much more closely related to submitting to one another, take a look at the link from "availability and vulnerability" - this captures the sense of exploration (the heretical imperitive) and submission (to the counsel - not domnance - of the Christian community)

rev mommy

There is an article in the current Christian Century about this very subject. I don't have a copy with me, but it might be on the website.

Community is the church. Worship is just a result of the community. It is not the community nor does it replace the community.

Interesting and thoughtful.


Very insightful posts, and some dynamic tension that I'd noticed but never thought into words.

I think that community IS the link between your aspects of the church (exploratory and authoritative), but not community as is defined by a structured gathering. Community is defined by the relationships of the people within it. I think that true Christian community has to be a place to explore; a place where we can express our experiences, our questions, our passions, and have them cooled or tempered or spurred on by people we love and trust.

We should feel the love and grace of Jesus AND hear the still, small, but decisive voice of God in a community of believers. I think its the only way. There has to be both. And it has to be based on trust.

Finally, trust has to be earned. Many people are rightfully fearful of authoritarian voices, because they've been misguided. Many others are fearful of joining a community, because they have been rejected. We have to be worthy of people's trust.


Welcome to the site landariel and thanks for your comments.

I totally agree with your point about community being built on relationships rather than gathering, but how do we build these relations without gathering, at least initially?


I've left church - physically, as well as the way you've described (mentally?). I'm trying to Be instead of Do, I'm trying to see what God is doing "out there" that I've missed while being "in here", and perhaps join in His kingdom community in places I would not previously have looked for it.

It's been a hard start, but I'm settling into the journey. Learning to put one foot in front of the other, or simply stop and sit for a while until it's time to start walking again.

And it's been amazing!

Blessings to you - there are many of us doing the same thinking, the world over.


You capture the tension, Michelle when you (and I) use the terms 'in here' and 'out there'

are there ways of doing community without those boundaries?

Can we organise 'gathering' that is not limited by geography and time and yet has immediacy? I'm sure that we need the church to be 'Jesus-with-skin-on' for us, but how do we benefit from that without restricting the flow of God's love to the limitation of time and space (ie a church service or activity)?

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