In our Church Season Restoration turns out attention to our common life as believers. In our sermon series, blog posts, and community groups we are reflecting on a collection of deeply challenging essays, Called to Community. Please buy a copy of Called to Community and join us for this life-changing discussion of what it means for us to truly become a community.
Now, I realize that community is a buzzword these days and everyone desires it but no one seems to know how to live with it. We can’t find the deep sense of community we want because in our culture everyone chooses to, as Charles E. Moore wrote in the introduction to the book, “partition off his or her lives into as many worlds as possible.” We have our work world, family world, church world (maybe), sports world, social media world, kids’ world, etc. and none of those worlds seem to overlap or connect. We are live in a world of independent silos.
However, as we’ve been learning together, this is not how Jesus calls us to live!
In chapter 9 of Called to Community, “Counterculture,” Howard Snyder writes about how the church developed and spread through the ancient Roman world because it was a group of distinct people living in community with a countercultural consciousness. They were not just a sub-culture living in a dominant Greco-Roman culture but a new counterculture whose teachings were in contrast to the existing community.
Though the distinction between the Christian culture and the Greco-Roman culture was as clear as night and day, I wonder what it means for us. What does a Christian counterculture in North Dallas look like when the dominate culture already claims to be Christian in belief but is not in its actions?
This is where Snyder has much to teach us at Restoration because his countercultural points are still as relevant for us today as they were for first century Christians. He gives us five scripture passages to help us picture what a counterculture body of believers looks like. Snyder describes a true community of countercultural Christians in beautiful detail in his chapter and encourage you to read it. I want to mention the outline he offers for us:
- John 15:18-19, “In the world, not of it…”
- Romans 12:2, “Conformed to Christ, not the world.”
- Luke 12:29-32, “The flock of the kingdom.”
- John 17:18, “Sent into the world.”
- Revelation 21:23-27, “The glory of the nations.”
The Church is not the merely a religious organization but we are the people of God, a community of the Spirit and a kingdom of Jesus Christ who is our sovereign Lord. We are meant to form a new culture that is the basis of our life in community. Join with us on Sunday mornings and in community groups as we continue our exploration of what it means to be Called to Community.