Sunday, March 18, 2007

Communitas :: Coffee with Innes


On Friday... I managed to grab a coffee with Innes J. Its great to hang out with him and journey together for that wee while.

He's reading a book just now called Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture by Michael Frost Here's a wee snippet from the synopsis on Amazon...
"Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture" presents a biblical, Christian worldview for the emergent church - people who are not at home in the traditional church or in the secular world. As exiles of both, they must create their own worldview that integrates their Christian beliefs with the contemporary world.
Innes has really connected with this book. He spoke of the difference between community and communitas - we are all seeking community in one way or another... but what we really long for is the bond... the close connection... the communitas that comes from shared journeys... shared ups and downs... shared hardship and struggle and the joy of achievement.

He used my trip to Philly as an example of communitas... and went on to suggest that for true fellowship to occur we need shared goals that people can live... rather than just talking about community over a coffee. This really challenged me... and encouraged me.

Been struggling with some of the purpose driven life... especially around a piece we touched on in day 17 ::
I can't claim to be following Christ if I'm not committed to any specific group of disciples.
I find Rick Warren's writing to be too black and white... there are always shades of grey that his idealistic view will miss. In essence, is he saying that you can't be a Christian if you are not part of a church? This is surely nonsense.

Thing is... there will be people who are not part of any established group who are still committed to Jesus and share with believers. I don't need to be part of a church to be a follower of Jesus. What I would suggest, however, is that my willingness to be with likeminded people does, in some way, describe my motives... my understanding of my faith.

If I claim to be a follower... and yet do not actively seek to be with likeminded followers... then I am a grain of wheat that is surrounded by weeds. I don't believe we should live in isolated ghettos... distant and exclusive from the world around us. We are not of the world but we are most certainly in it! but I do believe we need to be with likeminded people... and share with them... in order to fully experience the joy and freedom that comes from grace.

Its kind of like a salesperson out on the road... meetings all the time... sooner or later they need to get back to the office. Replicate their email... communicate with their management... share with their team. Life is fine remotely for a while but we need come back to the office.

Same is for followers of Jesus. Every so often... we need to share... learn... laugh... cry... with people who share our beliefs. We are exiles in this land... and need to come together to ensure the continuity of our message.

In a crazy... roundabout way... I think I just explained the quote I disagreed with earlier. Hmm!

Anyway... it was great to spend time with Innes and look forward to Wednesday when we meet at the gathering.

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Johnny said...

I'm still hacking through EXILES, which I started at the beginning of the year. There's tons of good stuff in there, but I did have to take a break because at the start I became a bit worn down by the EXILES metaphor, which I thought sometimes was a bit tenuous & over played.* However, I've picked it up again, and am really finding it useful.The communitas stuff definitely resonated with me, too. He sounds like a fascinating guy. Check out for more stuff

*(I kinda had the same reaction about Erwin Mac's "Barbarian" metaphor used in the excellent" Barbarian Way" book.

Anonymous said...

about the grey areas, I think if we find a grey area we need to try and make it as black and white as we can in our own heads. If we wait until they affect us personally we will always pick whatever side of the argument suits us. This tends to result in people using the bible to write their own rules rather than living by the rules set in the bible.

As shane claiborne puts it, the great thing about highlighters is that we can keep the bits we like in the bible and ignore the rest.

So although some may say, so and so's writing is very black and white...being grey is just as bad.

love and guts


Johnny said...

I eventually finished EXILES, and (as I've mentioned on a few comments on other blogs) found it patchy, with excellent stuff in some places & other bits I struggled with.

A good read on the whole, though.


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