Thursday, December 21, 2006

Real Community Requires Sacrifice

Acts 2:42-47 ... They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The Acts 2 dream sounds great; but can you imagine what those early Christ-followers sacrificed to make it a reality? Privacy, individualism, ambition, preferences, quality of living... Theses are just some of the things these early revolutionaries sacrificed to experience real Christ-community.

In her book, Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Sue Monk Kidd parallels personal awakening and giving birth, noting that, “sometimes a woman’s labor simply stalls. The contractions grow weak, and the new life, now quite distressed, hangs precariously.” I believe the present revolution of Jesus-radicals is facing a “stalled labor” as we come face to face with how much the incarnational Christ-life actually costs.

Will we sell our homes & move to be in proximity with other Christ-centered, mission-minded saints? Will we sacrifice our personal privacy to open our homes and to go into the homes of others? Will we shed our expectations of convenience to live a thoroughly inconvenient life? Will we really come together or will this labor stall, this child die, and this revolution cease?

Real community requires real sacrifice. Are you ready to birth this child?


Quentin Mullinix said...

John, this is so key! Just imagine taking that step of faith. It excites me and scares me all at the same time. But how do we take those steps of faith? How do we trust God with sacrificing the comfort of our homes and sacrificing our personal privacy and all of those other conveniences? As I mentioned on a previous blog, this is where a steady practice of spiritual disciplines comes into play. We need to buffet our bodies so that the flesh will not be so weak and be in such great conflict with the spirit. Here's a great quote from Dallas Willard regarding "faith" and spiritual disciplines:

“Down through the ages, those who have made great spiritual progress all seriously engaged with a fairly standard list of disciplines for the spiritual life. They are self confirming when entered in faith and humility. And you don’t really need much of faith and humility if you will just stay with them. They will do the rest because they open us to the kingdom. Ultimately, they are designed to break the power of our ready responses to do the opposite of what Jesus teaches: things like scorn, anger, verbal manipulation, payback, silent collusion in the wrongdoing of others around us, and so forth. They allow us to escape the patterns of epidermal responses, with their consequences so that our bodies will be poised to not only avoid wrongdoings, but to actively and automatically do what is right.”

John Lynch said...

Right on, brother!

"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." (Luke 9:23)

And "if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:13)

Sally said...

Thank you John this makes a lot of sense I like the picture of stalled labour- still thinking on it!

Makeesha said...

good stuff - both of you :)