Saturday, October 22, 2005


The responses to "The Ideal" has caused me rethink my first question. Originally I was asking what is the ideal community would be. Perhaps what I am truly seeking are the principles that should be at the core of Christian fellowship/community/church.

Having an idea of what Christian fellowship should look like would give us a guideline to strive for, not that we could ever reach it on this side. Yet, outside appearance can be fake and not a true representation of the heart of the matter. It is the core values and principles that motivate seen actions.

The easy answer could be love. The highest value of Christian community should be love. But what does that mean? I hear "its all about love" (and yes i have Dave Klob singing 'its all about love, all about love' going through my head right now) but what does that mean? What does that mean for small groups, a Sunday school class, a D-group, a church body?

I find it hard to define love. Such a small word means so many different things depending on its use. For this situation, I would like to suggest: desiring the best for others, seeking unity, and enjoying being together, crying together, laughing together, and food -Eating food together is very important! Sharing coffee, pizza, cookies…pie. mmmm pie. I am hungry now. I am going to go find something to munch on. What would you add or change to this definition of love?


jen said...

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

I would say that you're on track with the principle of love; however, I think that everything you've suggested, striving for unity, desiring the best for others, crying together, laughing together, yes, even food-eating together, is easily accomplished by a secular group, and, sadly, often with more success than Christian groups. Also, I think it's important to note that loving God comes before loving others - which would suggest to me that if we strive to love God, then loving others, and everything else, will fall into place. I think that, probably unintentionally, you left out some big issues - praying together, being accountable to each other, and basically just having Christ as the centre of whatever the group may be. No one is perfect and thus there will always be issues in any form of community or group. But with Christ as the centre of not only the group, but everyone within the group, we are more apt to love each other beyond all issues.

Just my humble opinion. I'm going to eat lunch.

ap said...

1 Cor. 13...cop out!

Combs said... an interesting consept that I think God threw into the mix to confuse us, and keep us on our toes. What Jen says about secular groups if very correct. A lot of times it looks the same, but we are told to Love like Christ. That's not praying with them or inviting people to Bible studies. It's more like lying down in the dirt with them so you can look them in the eyes. It's patience when they refuse to believe you. It's keeping your ears open when then want to talk. It's saying that your sorry for all of the things that you done. It's sacrificing, striving, hurting, beaten bloody and bruised,it's dying for them. If you have nothing you are willing to say is your by right, you arn't going to argue with the people around you. Love is selfless. Loving God is important, but it's not first. 1 John 4:20, I'm not one for social bandwagons, have to start somewhere.

Sarah Burger said...

Hi Liz,

I was just reading this at work on my lunch hour and I'm feeling philosophical. I think one aspect to the many faces of love is tolerance and respect. I feel some people are just too hard to like sometimes because of either what they say or how they act. You may not necessarily agree with them, but you are respectful of their right to their own opinions. You can't always persuade people to follow certain ideals or consider new ideas. All you can do is offer them a point of view and allow them to take it from there. Tolerance comes from respect, I think. It's an understanding that they have a right to existance, even though it may go against what is considered ideal. If everyone of different persuations were respectful and tolerant to those around them, I think it would be a much more peaceful world.

PS, hope you're having a blast in Japan :)

Jo said...

elizabeth, i would add mutual forgiveness. and trust. and helping eachother pracically in times of crisis. oh, and maybe dancing. dancing is part of love. don't argue. :)

Anna said...

"Definition: 'Love' is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope...Love is knowing your target, putting them in your targeting reticule, and together, achieving a singular purpose against statistically long odds."
At least, according to an assassin droid. I'm still not sure if that's a metaphor or not... anyway, I don't really have much to add to define "love" that wasn't already there. I just wanted to throw in something the others hadn't come up with yet. ;)

Steph said...

im trying to think what it means to love like Christ did, and He did a lot of things in love, He challenged the pharasees, he healed people (didn't heal everyone tho....ever think of that?), gave to people, demanded things of people.

Love isn't just warm fuzzies, its hard work. Sometimes loving people sucks, and doing things out of love don't feel very good.

elizabeth said...

Not sure if anyone will read old post comments. But I wanted to enter the discussion:

Ah, the wisdom of an assassin droid, I might even say amen if I was any good with a sniper riffle. Anna I am thankful for what you bring to the discussion, it made me smile.

Combs, I love what you said, “It's more like lying down in the dirt with them so you can look them in the eyes…” that whole thing was beautiful. That is how I want to be. But often times my pride and fear keeps me from loving that deeply.

Jo, I am with you 132% especially with the dancing. I won’t argue, I’m not Wesleyan. True love is often seen in the act of forgiveness, can’t explain how it works but it is an act of grace –a gift. Some times a gift so precious the forgiven person does not understand the sacrifice of the forgiver.

AP has the “cop out” answer. But it might be the hardest definition to live. A sermon I heard summer of 02 was on how love and forgiveness were so interconnected. The pastor took 1 Cor. 13 and explained each word as an act of forgiveness. Like, forgiveness is patience knowing the other person will not change over night and will still hurt us on the journey to change. It was one of those messages that has stuck with me.

Sarah, I agree that love shows respectful and tolerance. But do you think that those words have become twisted to mean something different, esp. in Canadian culture?

Lastly, Jen’s hit the nail on the head (have you ever noticed how many crazy idioms we have in English?). Love in community comes from loving God first. If our highest goal is a loving community we will fail at our goal and never grasp God’s love. If we seek God and love him with all of ourselves everything else will fall into place. (this idea is not original to me, but not sure who to give credit to).