community? kingdom? whatever

the other morning i was at my local starbucks getting my regular fix of venti bold (always enough room for cream) when i sat down with a small group to begin our normal thursday morning scripture study - as i was looking around, as i normally do, to get a fix on the room i noticed that there were several other groups of people reading and studying scripture - i thought, "very cool" - but soon i realized that they were sending mixed messages to the rest of the gathers - in fact, one of my friends noticed it also - here is what we noticed....

pockets of communities studying God's word - but in doing so they were very "exclusive." there was no interaction between the groups at all - none - we noticed that none of the groups talked with each other, or even noticed that the others were around. we tried several time to make eye contact with the other groups, we even did things like (speaking just below normal) "hey, did you read the first chapter of john for our study today?" all we got for that effort was a look that said, "please be quite, if you speak too loud people will know we are christians." it was heart breaking. on one level they were deep into the study, yet on another they would not talk with each other. one of the people in a non-study group next to us over heard our conversation and said, "it's that the way all churches are, each thinking they got it right and they just don't like talking with those outside their group." wow - truth in a starbucks. (just a side note: the "non-study" groups around us were great and we all started to joke around and have fun.)

one last time:
i gave it one last try - as we were leaving i went to one of the groups and said, "looks like this is the place to gather to be in God's word." and the response was zero - nothing - i soon found myself drinking ice coffee - it was heart breaking - so i smiled, said thanks for their time and went my way - they did not even acknowledge i was alive.