Sunday, July 05, 2009

Independence Day?

This weekend, we celebrated the birthday of our country here in the States. There were cookouts, parades and fireworks. There were people who travelled to be with family. Folks sang patriotic songs.

We value independence here in the States. We honor people who fulfil the America dream, by hard work, pulling themselves up from bad situations and make their mark in the world.

It seems to be a value of people to be that way in the Church. In evangelical circles, people seem to love to hear the testimony of those who are "trophies of grace." We love to honor them for their hard work and marvel at the work of God in the individual.

I just heard a good sermon this morning. The sermon was on the "body of Christ." It was based on the passage in 1 Corinthians 12. It was clear that there is a deep abiding necessity for community. Those who would take this independent view of Christianity, over-emphasizing personal salvation as the be all and end all seem to missing the boat. In other words, my salvation depends solely on me.

We have used the word "community" over and over again as a Christian buzz word for the past several years. Yet, there continues to be a fraying of community. We have few family members in the Church it seems and more acquaintances. The lack of deep relationships in the Church I believe leads to shallow Christianity, since there is little in the way of challenge or discipleship in the vacuum of independent living.

This idea of independence, I believe is overrated. We live in such an interconnected world. With the advent of facebook, twitter, blogger and youtube, we are living in world where it is virtually impossible to be independent of relationship. The world economic situation makes it virtually impossible for a country to stand alone economically. Even politically, we have learned in recent years that an isolationist policy is incredibly bad for a country.

If in the secular world, independence is evaporating, I wonder why I see us only paying lip service to community in the Church. There does seem though to be a movement toward ecumenism

I wonder if it is true that salvation cannot take place outside of the Church? Is the idea of denominationalism dead? Is independence an idea that may be extra-biblical?

So as with all my other posts, I ask...What do you think?


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