Monday, October 29, 2007

The following appeared in my inbox during the week off, in a mailing from .

I want to be part of a community that I love and that loves me. A place where
we get past the polite niceness, beyond the pretence and the masks, and get
really irritated with each other. And then stick at it and stick together.

I want to be part of something that is marked by its welcome, its hospitality and
its inclusiveness. A place with fuzzy edges, where no one decides who belongs
and is ‘in’ or ‘out’. I want to be part of a group of people who are obsessed with
Jesus, rather than Christianity. A place that is passionately focussed on Jesus
and learning to live as followers of his way in real life today. A place where
we’re becoming more like Jesus as we learn the ancient spiritual disciplines and
work together to make them part of our lives.

I want to belong to a community where I can be myself, warts and all.
A place that, on the one hand will accept me as I am right now, but on the other
hand will provoke and inspire me to become more of what I could be. A place
where my brokenness, fears and habits are part of the process. A place where
we hold on to the ‘ideal’ but also celebrate the ‘real’.

I want to be part of something that treats people like adults. A place that values
everyone’s experience and perspective. A place where people are motivated by
love rather than guilt. I want to be part of a community that is both of our culture,
so that it connects with the language, images, music and experiences of
everyday life; but one that also goes against the grain of our culture because we
serve one another, live sacrificially and cross boundaries of class, age and colour.

A place that makes the difference in the things that feel too big for us as individuals.
Whether that’s the hassle my kids will get when they can’t wear designer
trainers or the impotence I feel in the face of ethical and environmental

A place that makes us yearn for justice and beauty. A place that equips us for
life in the worlds we live in, and gives us the fire we need to change them.

Of course my dream is impossibly idealistic, but I’ve decided that even if we
never get there, I want to give everything to trying. Dream has always sought to
be “an oasis in the desert”, and that’s precious. But at the same time, it needs to
be a desert in the oasis. A place that makes us more thirsty for Jesus and his

What a great vision. The trouble is, most of us will read this and think 'if I want to be part of this, I'd better leave my own church and find the one which is like this'. A consumerist rather than a community response. Or we could do the hard thing: pray that the Christian community we're part of becomes this way, and offer ourselves to God for Him to use us to answer our own prayer.

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