Community: Blame or Introspection
I know many people who have been rejected by the Community. They aren't a part of one anymore because, wisely, they don't wish to subject themselves to that kind of inhumane treatment again. This includes people who have left mine. In fact, I know enough people who've left to fill a couple of large buildings. I realize there are lots of predictions that this institution is going to be null and void soon. But I personally don't find it useful to continually blame those who have left or don't attend. Because I am still a member of one and in fact oversee one, I feel it is incumbent upon me to ask myself what the problem is with the institution people are leaving in droves. I am not naive enough to adopt the theory that it has outgrown its usefulness and is now outdated and nonessential. I think the burden of proof weighs upon the institution to explain itself. Why are there so many people damaged by this particular institution? Why are so many bored with it? Why are so many finding satisfaction without it? Why are so many seeking understanding for their faith elsewhere? Why do so many avoid it at all costs? And why is this institution so stubborn that it won't listen to its dissenters or critics? Or, why is this particular institution neurotically innovating and tweaking and modifying itself in an obviously desperate attempt to charm new customers? The Community is the necessary, visible, local manifestation of the Body. The Body, demonstrated in the Community, needs earthly expression or else it's just pure mysticism, unchained from responsibility in this world. We need to practice introspection and figure out how to do this with humility, courage, and compassion. The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Mark Hemmings, and is an image of the Shinjuku skyline in Tokyo. He recently made a photo trip there. I think it captures the confusing feeling cities create of alienation in spite of crowds. Check out my tees HERE and my art HERE.