Week 3: Belonging — We’re Chosen To Fellowship Together

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Verse to Remember: “Since we are all one body of Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” — Romans 12:5b (NLT)
[Read More] thoughts on weekly Session 3 of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community,

I am very excited about this week’s focus on Belonging, which builds on I Corinthians 13:7‘s focus on how love protects, trust, hopes, and perseveres. For one thing, “belonging” is something I’ve long wrestled with as an immigrant. For another, I’ve been generally wrestling with the issue of Community , especially in the context of politics. Finally, I’ve been particularly wrestling with my own feelings of belonging in a local group.

To be clear, let me state that this group is possibly the most godly, loving, passionate group of Christians I’ve ever met. Our leader is an amazing man of God, who has served the Lord for decades and seen miracles upon miracles. That is not the problem. Indeed, in such an environment, it seems petty to even -have- problems.

Maybe that itself is the problem. There’s a layer of personality, culture, and tradition that creates a certain environment in this group — which doesn’t seem to have room for my kind of angst. Pretty much the entire group comes from different ethnic, linguistic, or national backgrounds. However, the rest of the group has been part of a particular church tradition for their entire active Christian life, and they manifest the exuberant, spirit-filled approach to Christianity which is, frankly, part of that ideal.

Which, I hasten to add, is a Very Good Thing. Far too much of my life is filled with rationality, sober reflection, and pessimistic calculation. I need that balance, and encouragement. I need to “let go and let God.” I need to avoid over-complicating things, and just “believe and receive.” I agree with all of that.

But.

That doesn’t agree with all of me. This group is wonderful for my spiritual life, and for reminding me not to let my intellect overwhelm my spirit. Yet, I realized it has nothing to offer me in terms of integrating my spirituality with my intellect. For them, it is a non-issue, as that isn’t a problem God appears to be calling them to face. However, my calling is to the transformation of the secular world, so I need to know both how and why I believe — and which aspects of God’s truth are translatable into secular terms. While still — at the exact same time — pursuing a passionate spirituality with my whole heart; as well as my mind, soul, and body.

I honestly don’t know how this will be resolved. Maybe there is room for us to grow as a group, as I help them understand more about my calling, and how I see the world. However, I suspect that God may not want them (at least at this time) to worry about– or even be aware of — the sort of faith/reason integration issues that are central to my Christian experience. I honestly don’t know. All I can do is be honest about who I am, seek to use my unique gifts and calling to bless the group, and listen to God about where He wants us to go.

And continue to pursue belonging-ness.

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