True Community

What is community? What does it constitute? Here’s a quote from a blog that I was reading that made me think – not just community because we are in a small group, not just community because we don’t go into a church building, not just community because we call ourselves a community.

I thought I could organize small groups and the occasional potluck supper or game in the park and I’d have community. I was wrong, and no one was attracted to it. My friend, on the other hand, presents a vision of friends who stand by each other through thick and thin, finding on the other side that they have something more precious than gold. Says my friend: “It’s funny how soldiers who have fought together in wars have unbreakable friendship and community.”

Here’s the point, and I am spelling it out very clearly because it’s incredibly important that we get this: You cannot organize community. You only get it by weathering the storms, going through the fire, standing tall when all fall away, coming to your friend’s defense when no one else will, and being the last ones left when the fight is over. (my emphasis)

That is a community that is appealing!

(Roger Bos – “That is Not Community”

I like the part I emphasized – “You cannot organize community.” It does not come without conflict. True community is birthed out of life – real life. Real life is full of conflict, and those people who stand with you through that conflict will have a bond with you that is stronger than steel. As Roger quotes, “Says my friend: “It’s funny how soldiers who have fought together in wars have unbreakable friendship and community.”

Community is grown, not made. Let us strive for real community, whatever stream of Christianity we stem from – whatever stream of life we stem from.


2 Responses

  1. This is basically the concept that Alan Hirsch proposes in The Forgotten Ways. His terminology is a bit different. Alan differentiates between community and communitas. “Community” is usually little more than a basic social bond, but “communitas” is a form of community with a deeper blood. Communitas is formed when a community undergoes an ordeal (liminality)–just like the soldiers who fought in war together. Before, one was a city-boy and another a farm-boy, one was a white racist and another was black, but because of their shared experience, now they are brothers.
    At his blog, Alan says, “The most vigorous forms of community are those that come together in the context of a shared ordeal or, communities who define themselves as a group with a mission that lies beyond themselves—thus initiating a risky journey. Over-concern with safety and security, combined with comfort and convenience, have lulled us out of our true calling and purpose.” (

  2. Yes Dave…. and it’s ironic that you came along and commented on this post, just when I was reading another site’s take on a normal church! ( I love it! May our communities be invigorated with the Spirit’s presence!

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