Platforms are not where ministry happens.

Ministry happens in the neighborhood;

With life rubbing up against life,

With the sharing of the miseo dei,

participating in Christ,

seeing the imago dei in others.

You can’t phone it in.

–Michael Frost, PGF 2007 closing talk

What does this mean for us? Living as Jesus did, being incarnational as He was, “dressed in his cloak” takes on many different faces. How do we do it in our lives? Does this mean we all move to marginal areas of society? Do we abandon our comfortable, banal, middle-class, consumer driven lives?

How will you embody Jesus in your community? Imagine for a moment that you are staying in your particular corner of suburbia (or urbanhood). Imagine living your life counter-culturally with in that context. What does that look like? Do you have the courage for that? Do I? I know that I want to.  I want to start where I am and be faithful countering all the ridiculous cultural baggage that has been attached to the idea of following Jesus. I want to identify it all and burn it up.

Most of the time.

Sometimes, I’m lazy and give in the numbing ready-made society I live in. Looking around, I see my response is not the minority.

My prayer is that I will not close my eyes. I will follow Jesus in the midst of suburbia, taking the necessary risks of letting go…of the institution, of the baggage, of materialism, consumerism, of the creature comforts, of my sin of omission, of not caring for those suffering around me, of the fear of being rejected, ridiculed, ignored…

Will you join me? Can we take in God’s love for us and then live it out?

I have been thinking a lot about community lately and also about what is beneficial about being in a well connected larger type church (I’m still speaking of church as our particular faith gathering community, even though the church is all believers, the body of Christ).

There are a lot of followers of Jesus out there who have opted out of the whole institutional church idea. And then, many more who are finding creative ways to experience living in a community of faith while attempting to be faithful to the gospel message.  At times, I am very frustrated with the large church “campus” and how much time and energy go into maintaining its perpetuation; very much like government in that way. It seems to just keep growing and getting more and more top heavy. Plus, programming people to death is another problem.

It’s too late and I am too tired to go into this beyond scratching the surface right now.

I am extremely grateful for the community that we have in our lives that has come specifically from our church connections. Without that we wouldn’t have been stretched with friendships and relationships. We wouldn’t have such close friends without my last two church involvements over the past 20 years. These are people that come along side us through the worst and the best.  They are amazing gifts from God to us. It was within the larger community that we were able to find each other to form this smaller more intimate community. And yes, it was intentional on everyone’s part and has taken time, energy, commitment and effort. But we do it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Even if we do leave our church eventually for something more organic, or smaller, or whatever (and we aren’t planning on doing this at the moment), I would still make the effort to keep the relationships with the body of believers there.

Just a few personal thought. More on this topic later.