Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Intentional Christian Community Handbook: For Idealists, Hypocrites, and Wannabe Disciples of Jesus, by David Janzen


An excerpt of a two-part review recently posted on Schaeffer's Ghost:
The Christian church has ceased to be a body and has become instead a disconnected assortment of individuals. We no longer care for one another, meet one another’s needs, or walk alongside one another as the early church once did. “Church” has become somewhere we go once a week instead of something we are on a daily—or even moment-by moment—basis. We are fixated on personal autonomy instead of godly submission to one another, we cling to personal possessions instead of viewing them as gifts from God to be stewarded for His glory and the benefit of others, and we seek to elevate our own careers and reputations instead of prioritizing the health and vitality of Christ’s beloved church in the world. 
So says David Janzen, and I confess, I think I agree with him. He raises valid criticisms about the current state of ‘community’ in the church, the materialism that pervades our society, and the emphasis on individualism and independence and self-determinism as unimpeachable human rights to be protected and celebrated (an attitude that has, I think, a unique appeal to Americans, given our historical narrative). He takes issue with the modern idea of watered-down, milquetoast community. And I have to say, he has a point. The trouble is I’m not sure his solutions don’t cause more problems than they purport to solve.
Full review available in two parts here and here.

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