spaghettipie

A Heart for Community

As I mentioned in my previous post, our pastor gave five women in our church an opportunity to share their hearts. I asked you ladies to share your hearts, and I so appreciate your responses!

My heart is for true community and seeing the Body of Christ as it was intended to be. The vulnerability that requires and the risk of rejection sometimes scares me, but I am discontent with living life on the surface with others. And I struggle with seeing the number of divisions and walls we put up among Christians (let alone how we isolate non-Christians).

My experience with Africa has shaped my perspective on this topic profoundly. When we visited with a pastor in Sudan, he admonished us, “You Americans, you often forget that we (meaning Christians, not just the Sudanese) are in a war. We Sudanese remember because we are on the front lines fighting for Christianity every day.” Many Africans we encountered expressed their concern for American Christians. They could see how our denominations had become our “tribes.”  They were saddened that we spend so much time arguing and debating each other, when an enemy is waging war against Christianity.

I think we often get into the trap of adding too much to the fundamental truths of Christianity (the non-negotiables, if you will). We make it easy on Satan; why does he need to come against us when we come against each other? My husband is currently mulling over a legitimate business idea, and his main concern with moving forward is the harsh and ugly responses we would most likely receive from – you guessed it – Christians.

This desire to see our fractured, self-focused churches compels me on two levels.

First, I try to intentionally focus on building community in my personal relationships. I try to be authentic and real as possible, ready to admit my faults and express my deepest desires. Now, I don’t usually dump all this information in a casual conversation or to fill the silence, but if you ask me about it or if I see an appropriate opportunity, I am willing to share.

Secondly, I have become increasingly involved in a local organization whose aim is to network churches together to reach the lost in our community. I love that this organization is not seeking to implement new programs on its own. Rather, it seeks to bring area pastors together, help them identify a need in their community they can meet together, and then make that plan a reality. The goal of the organization is to eventually step out of the process entirely as the churches take over.

Well now, that’s a whole lot of words – so I guess it is evident how strongly I feel about this topic. I’d love for you to continue to share your heart with me. Or to hear your thoughts on community. Or both.

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9 comments

  1. Kuran teachs us that differences on people are not couse for fight.Differences are created because we must meet and know about eachother and learn different things.

    We the moslems all believe in jesus and we believe in virgin mariam. We believe that Jesus will come back(maybe he came and made his duty)in the last age of the world.

    when the jesus comes to the world we believe that christianity and islam will make an alliance against ateism.

    so we think that christians and moslems must give up discussing and they must find the common points.

    an illness that found in west makes human materialist and ateist.this unfaithness destroys morale and this causes demolition of christian population.for that reason everyone must be awake from now on and accept the truths however it comes from the enemy.

    furthermore we are not enemies.

    all identifications are stable from now on.it’s not necessary to fight on “survive as us”.it’s time to introduce and be friend.

  2. Amen.
    This lack of community often has roots in fear–personal fear of “what will they think?” and a more group fear of defending the Truth. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be Truth-seekers, but in “defending” (which I’m not sure we’re called to do), we end up wounding rather than healing. So how do we remain faithful to Truth and loving (which is an odd question in itself, I realize as I type it–as if Truth and love are mutually exclusive)?
    I think you’ve hit on something–being servants. Washing feet.

  3. spaghettipie

    B – Thanks so much for stopping by and contributing to our discussion! I totally agree that materialism can be extremely destructive, and we must be awake and alert against the schemes of the enemy. While you and I have some fundamental differences in our views about faith, I agree that they should not cause us to fight. I would love to continue discussing with you where we are in our journeys. What do you see as some of those common points between our two faiths?

    H – I completely agree. Fear has a way of slipping its way in to our lives and deepening gaps between us. It’s a delicate balance between preserving truth and defending the truth (however big we decide to make it).

  4. I love your heart, Tina. What a blessing you are to us.
    As Christians, we have wasted so much time on such ridiculous matters and the ultimate tragedy of that is we have wasted souls in the process.

  5. In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    Those who believe in the Unseen. 1

    If you want to understand what great happiness and bounty, what great pleasure and ease is to be found in belief in God, listen to this story which is in the form of a comparison:

    One time, two men went on a journey for both pleasure and business. One set off in a selfish, inauspicious direction; the other on a godly, propitious way.

    Since the selfish man was both conceited, self-centred, and pessimistic, he ended up in what seemed to him to be a most wicked country due to his pessimism. He looked around and everywhere saw the powerless and the unfortunate lamenting in the grasp and at the destruction of fearsome bullying tyrants. He saw the same grievous, painful situation in all the places he travelled. The whole country took on the form of a house of mourning. Apart from becoming drunk, he could find no way of not noticing this grievous and sombre situation. For everyone seemed to him to be an enemy and foreign. And all around he saw horrible corpses and despairing, weeping orphans. His conscience was in a state of torment.

    The other man was godly, devout, fair-minded, and with fine morals so that the country he came to was most excellent in his view. This good man saw universal rejoicing in the land he had entered. Everywhere was a joyful festival, a place for the remembrance of God overflowing with rapture and happiness; everyone seemed to him a friend and relation. Throughout the country he saw the festive celebrations of a general discharge from duties accompanied by cries of good wishes and thanks. And he also heard the sound of a drum and band for the enlistment of soldiers with happy calls of “God is Most Great!” and “There is no god but God!” Rather than being grieved at the suffering of both himself and all the people like the first miserable man, this fortunate man was pleased and happy at both his own joy and that of all the inhabitants. Furthermore, he was able to do some profitable trade. He offered thanks to God.

    After some while he returned and came across the other man. He understood his condition, and said to him: “You were out of your mind. The ugliness inside you must have been reflected on the outer world so that you imagined laughter to be weeping, and the discharge from duties to be sack and pillage. Come to your senses and purify your heart so that this calamitous veil is raised from your eyes and you can see the truth. For the country of an utterly just, compassionate, beneficent, powerful, order-loving, and kind king could not be in the way you imagined, nor could a country which demonstrated this number of clear signs of progress and achievement.” The unhappy man later came to his senses and repented. He said, “Yes, I was crazy through drink. May God be pleased with you, you have saved me from a hellish state.”

    O my soul! Know that the first man represents an unbeliever, or someone depraved and heedless. In his view the world is a house of universal mourning. All living creature are orphans weeping at the blows of death and separation. Man and the animals are alone and without ties being ripped apart by the talons of the appointed hour. Mighty beings like the mountains and oceans are like horrendous, lifeless corpses. Many grievous, crushing, terrifying delusions like these arise from his unbelief and misguidance, and torment him.

    As for the other man, he is a believer. He recognizes and affirms Almighty God. In his view this world is an abode where the Name of the All-Merciful One is constantly recited, a place of instruction for man and the animals, and a field of examination for man and jinn. All animal and human deaths are a demobilization. Those who have completed their duties of life depart from this transient world for another, happy and trouble-free, world so that place may be made for new officials to come and work. The birth of all animals and humans forms their enlistment into the army, their being taken under arms, and the start of their duties. Each living being is a joyful regular soldier, an honest, contented official. And all voices, either glorification of God and the recitation of His Names at the outset of their duties, and the thanks and rejoicing at their ceasing work, or the songs arising from their joy at working. In the view of the believer, all beings are the friendly servants, amicable officials, and agreeable books of his Most Generous Lord and All-Compassionate Owner. Very many more subtle, exalted, pleasurable, and sweet truths like these become manifest and appear from his belief.

    That is to say, belief in God bears the seed of what is in effect a Tuba Tree of Paradise, while unbelief conceals the seed of a Zakkum Tree of Hell.

    That means that safety and security are only to be found in Islam and belief. In which case, we should continually say, “Praise be to God for the religion of Islam and perfect belief.”

  6. This is an article of one of the foremost islamic scholars in this century, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi…

    I’m calling out all just Christians:”Is it possible not to be agreeing with these opinions?”

    i wrote it because we all see a sea at there but only as a blue eternity that disappears at the horizon…and when someone asks us about it we say that it’s an empty blue water mass covers all over the horizon.

    yes maybe its blue maybe its water but these are not enough to define it.there is an utterly different world in it…fishes, corals, pearls and living universe in that sea.

    maybe we must give a few minutes and try to understand what a different and beatiful thing that ocean is…

  7. spaghettipie

    B – I appreciate the article you posted, in that when we our lives are oriented around God – seeing Him in creation, seeking to glorify Him in all things – then our outlook on life and our interpretation of events (even negative ones), is completely different.

    I do believe we have many similarities between our two faiths (Islam and Christianity). However, some of the differences in our beliefs are vast enough that I can’t say our beliefs are two views of the same thing.

  8. spaghettipie

    K – How sad it is to miss out on the opportunity to be used by God to reach the lost because we are too inwardly focused!

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