Last week on Public Radio Remix, someone was speaking of her conversion into Judaism. She mentioned that entering into Judaism isn’t becoming like the people in the synagogue. Instead, Judaism is about becoming like the community because one likes the community. This has a few implications:
- The community must be likable.
- The community must be sociable.
- The community must allow for diversity within unity.
Being in one sense an offspring of Judaism, Christianity in its early stages was also heavily community oriented. For example, one need only look to the New Testament and can see that it is virtually a community discussion around Tanak, Jesus, and God. First Corinthians offers an example of community discussion where Paul is not monologuing with the Corinthian believes, but is in dialogue with them.
In this Western culture’s emphasis on individuality and conformity, I have friends who are scared of church because of their experience of abuses at the hands of a rigid hierarchy. They have seen church as a place where the church is run by a pastor given virtually unchecked and free reign. They also see church as a place where people are to conform to a laundry list. Among others that I know, gathering for church is not highly valued anymore because there is no sense of unity. What ways do you think Chritsianity can become more community oriented again?