|Again in reference to SHOWTIME by Tod Bolsinger.....|
In the 7th chapter called, "Not you or me but we", ....Bolsinger talks about the different kinds of love, "with agape love being our final goal"...he says...."the love that is like God's love". Now I know that that kind of love is in me if God is in me. It very rarely, if ever manifests itself because I usually get in the way. However, I digress.
He then talks about .."taking love out into the world, but only after really loving the community of believers...and to what Francis Schaeffer called 'the mark of a Christian'." John 13:34-35 is the scriptural reference for this. He refers to.... "brotherly love (philadelphia), which is a commitment to fellow Christians not necessarily for all people". I like what he says although, as with everything I read right now, I have a different perspective on the terminology, or the language that he uses. I am working through the thoughts behind what is said if you will. I know that in and of myself, I can do nothing and so without continuing to qualify this always....and until all of this is crystal clear in my mind, I tend to hesitate to share a perspective about what it is that we can do....Arghhhhh ....not that 'we' can do anything in our own strength....(there is the dilemma I face daily.... :)
Anyway, in Bolsinger's own words...
"God is calling us to be people who take His message of love and gracious acceptance into the world. But before we have the right to say it, we must live it. More than anything else, we need to be a community that communicates to each other in both words and actions: 'I love you, I forgive you, Supper is ready'. "
These three phrases are what he indicates ...."a poll a few years back, gave as the top three answers as to what word or phrase people would like to have said to them sincerely". He suggests that these three phrases ..."may be the best description of the church, he has ever read", (and he wrote a Ph.D. dissertation on the life-transforming communion that the church is supposed to be).
I like his thoughts.....whenever we look towards being a light out there in the world....we need to make sure the light is shining in the community of believers that we are a part of. That Light, of course, is Jesus, and will shine where it will as we submit. It is what Jesus did though in some ways....brought truth and light to His close company of friends and then sent them out. Sort of like the old adage....if your backyard is in disarray.....don't be trying to clean up someone else's backyard. Again, I share that I believe that Christ in me....does what He wills in any circumstance and at anytime. He brought me to this book and I appreciate this man's thoughts on community. We have a lot to learn about community. True community. I go to, as Bolsinger did as well.... to Galatians 3:28. Paul knew about community.