40 Days of Community by Rick Warren: Better Together

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At long last, I’ve decided to restart my (online) devotional time. I think the reason I didn’t feel “released” to do this is that my prior attempt was very Left Brain, and I needed to do something from the Heart. As it happens, our church has just started Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community, so I’ll be working on that. [Read More] for details.Harvest Church has just begun Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community. This is very timely for me, as I’ve been wrestling recently with micro-community (how I relate to myself) and macro-community (e.g., politics), but largely neglected normal community. Our small group is meeting at the house of a Malayalee couple from Singapore, who moved to Elk Grove a few years ago to be near their children and grandchildren in San Jose. They’re just a 20-minute walk away, so we expect to be spending a lot of time with them. They’re exuberant, long-term AoG members, with incredible testimonies of God’s miraculous provision in their lives. There’s also two other women, but no men, though we may get more in the future.The thing that struck me most during Rick’s first video “Group Lift” was his emphasis on Love. It sounds strange, but I hadn’t really thought about Community in those terms. Community just is, as a first-order given (perhaps a side-effect of my Indian heritage). I was particularly impacted by his use of Galatians 5:6, “all that matters if your faith that makes you love others.” (CEV). I’m always looking for core principles, especially in scripture, but that was one I hadn’t considered before.That was followed by a surprisingly refreshing exegesis of I Corinthians 13. He concisely demonstrated that the first part emphasizes that nothing I say, know, believe, give, or accomplish means anything without Love. Next, he showed that love consists of commandment, choice, conduct, and commitment. Again, nothing terribly new, but a very good job of pulling out a number of critical points from a single passage, without feeling forced (except for ‘conduct’ to match ‘C’ :-). I also appreciated his inclusive perspective that love produces feeling, but is not itself a feeling. Though, to be sure, I typically conceptualize love as both: Love is a state of positive idealization engaging emotions & intentions in relentless pursuit of perceived goodOf course, its one thing to agree about Love; the hard part will be practicing it. Kudos to Rick for making this a “Lab” — incarnating Community into our small group — rather than “Lecture.”

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