Community Connotations

2 Jul

group hugI like to read theresurgence. If you’ve ever clicked on Blogs I Read then you’ll have found a link there.

Recently there’s been a series on Men. It’s not bad, it’s not great. What I wanted to point out though was the last section in part 2. Addressing community, the connotations the word has in churches and how we actually miss out on a lot of (the manly parts) it.

For those who don’t like clicking around here’s the section I liked. Thoughts and responses via comments please.

Community

Community is an increasingly trendy theme in much western culture, and good thing too, as it’s biblical. But again, we need to constantly rescue it from pagan (and often effeminate) distortions. Without essential Bible concepts such as accountability, protection, discipline, and leadership, the concept becomes soupy enough to mean whatever you want it to. And this, again, is what leaves men unreached.

The images we tend to celebrate when considering community (certainly in western culture) are family (which also means a lot of things),belonging, compassion, care, and thoughtfulness. Obviously, these are noble and biblical ideas. But on their own, they create an unbalanced environment, and they will not appeal to guys who see other values in community, such as order, camaraderie, mission, teamwork, andbrotherhood.

This came home to me forcefully in a meeting where someone had brought up the need for people to find a place in God’s family. There was nothing erroneous said, but it left me concerned for any visiting blokes whose preconceptions of sentimental church were now confirmed. Before getting up to preach I was thinking, “Guys hear ‘family’ as such a weak and syrupy word,” and I felt God say to me, “Not if they have just watchedThe Godfather.”

When we talk about family, community, and being a people, do we leave out the bits about protecting each other (especially the weak), snatchingeach other from sin, or speaking the plain truth in love? These and many other biblical expressions of community must come back into our language and practice if we want any hope winning a world of men.

Guys don’t want to be in a “caring community,” but in a “band of brothers.” This never fails to bring the best out of them. Max Hastings, in his book about D-Day, states that allied soldiers who survived never recovered the sense of belonging to a fighting force. Their existence really meant something in Normandy. Many felt they were alive for the first time and after the war, craved a return to it despite the danger, never feeling part of a cause again.

Well, I have a cause.

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