About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Attempting Community In A

Culture of Individual Independence  


Genesis 2:24 reads:


"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh."


The concept of human community originates with God when He created the "husband/wife" relationship in which community is rooted.  Genesis 2:24 states that "they" (two distinct individuals) "become one flesh" (community) through, as the Hebrew text implies, the gluing process of marriage.  It's called diversity within unity - one distinct man, uniting with one distinct woman, giving birth to the family community.  When family grows into the extended family, it eventually evolves into a civilization.  This being true, when the family disintegrates, the civilization disintegrates.      


The communal family fell apart in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve chose to exert themselves over their communal relationship with God.  This is seen when Adam and Eve hid from God, hid their nakedness from each other, and shifted the blame rightly due them.  Since then, attempts at creating any kind of  diversity within a unified community have been an ongoing struggle.            


For centuries, the two primary world-views, that of the East and that of the West, have failed to create diversity within one unified community.  The East's emphases on community has produced a "shame/honour" culture that protects the community at all costs, resulting in the individual losing his identity as he becomes a generic version of the community.  On the other hand, the West's emphasis on individualism, with its "me first" mentality, inhibits the creation of a balanced community where both the individual and the community effectively interact for the well-being of both.  


As Christians living in the West, we are saturated with this self-serving spirit of individual independence.  This makes Biblical-based community next to impossible because of our tendency to exert ourselves over the Community of Christ.  Self-promotion and lack of covenantal community commitment destroy diversity within unity which is central to church.    


Church being a counter-cultural, diversely populated, unified community of believers, is vital in our anti-Christ cultural environment.  As the Prophetic Futurist view of history states, this age ends with a one-world, dictatorial, government that will force the individual to become a generic modification of itself.  As that day approaches, the true church will be forced to become a balanced community where both the individual and the community effectively interact for the well-being of both.      


Post Script


Here, in May, 2020, CNN reports that forty percent of American churches may permanently close due to lack of funds during the Covid 19 crisis.  One pastor interviewed said his church is a business, and when the business of church loses its income, as his is, church dies.  This pastor's assessment is correct when church is not a community of diverse believers working together for the benefit of both the individual and the community.




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