“If we are to have any hope for the future, those who have lanterns must pass them on to others.” (Plato)

“If you join our pilgrimage, you will find a group of people who are just like you. We have hopes. We long that the world will be put to rights. We suffer. We get discouraged, and angry, and aren’t always nice. We get sick, lose our jobs, divorce, have rebellious children, aren’t always honest, and don’t always keep our promises. We also long for love, try to be kind, have dreams for our children, and hope we can pay this month’s bills and put aside a little for the future.

 We do believe that God is our Father, that Jesus died and rose again for us, and that the Holy Spirit has called us into a community of people called the church. We’ve been baptized to signify that our only hope is in death and resurrection with Jesus. We gather at his table to meet with him, hear his words, and receive food for our journey. We trust that God will put his world to rights one day and we long to be part of that.”   (Chaplain Mike, Internetmonk)

“Labor together with one another. Strive in company together. Run together; suffer together; sleep together; awake together, as the stewards, assessors, and servants of God.”  (Ignatius’ Sixth Letter to Polycarp, 110AD)

“It is in community that we come to see God in the other. It is in community that we see our own emptiness filled up. It is community that calls me beyond the pinched horizons of my own life, my own country, my own race, and gives me the gifts I do not have within me. ”  (Sister Joan Chittister)

“Since my youth, I think that I have never lost the intuition that community life could be a sign that God is love, and love alone. Gradually the conviction took shape in me that it was essential to create a community with men determined to give their whole life and who would always try to understand one another and be reconciled, a community where kindness of heart and simplicity would be at the centre of everything.” (Brother Roger, Taize)

“The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian.” (Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God)

“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each others’ lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other…” (Wendell Berry)

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love, and that love comes with community.” (Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness)

“It is not more bigness that should be our goal.  We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to…the warmth of community…of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.”  (Robert F. Kennedy)

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)



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How very good and pleasant it is when the kindred dwell together in unity.   (Psalm 133:1)

Since this is hopefully the beginning of a little online community, I could think of no better topic to begin with than community itself.  It’s a big subject, and a controversial one.  If you’re reading this post, there’s a pretty good shot that you belong to a different denomination than me, if not a different belief system altogether.  What I hope to offer to the conversation about  unity is not a pie in the sky hope of perfect unity and love amongst the Bride of Christ.  I’m not John the Baptist, cleverly disguised as Rodney King, crying “Can’t we all just get along?” out here in the post-evangelical desert.  We could talk about the Acts 2 church, and how they shared goods and meals and worshiped together, and say their church members were ideally committed to providing for each others’ needs, but we would only end up with an argument over whether they met in a house or at the temple, so I’m not taking that path.  We could talk about the blood and the body, but we Christians can’t even agree on the purpose and power of these.

Instead, I wanted to take a stab at defining some marks that we as believers should hold to that bind us together as community.  Again, it’s a big topic.  There’s already been about 2000 years worth of discussion on the things that bind us together, and those things that divide us.  Unfortunately, the things that divide us are the ones that seem to draw the most attention, and the things we believers focus on the most.  We’re going to avoid all the theological arguments about justification, methods of baptism, and spiritual gifts, and look at the things that should glue us all hopelessly together.

Being a complete liturgical, historical Christianity nerd, I went straight back in time to find some practices that imply that we are bound to one another;  that we are responsible for each others’ well-being;  that we’re in this boat together.  I came up with three ideas that I wanted to explore, three things that I believe define us as a community of believers when we participate actively in them:

1)  We are a people of Baptism

2)  We are a people of  Communion.

3)  We are a people of Creed.

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