i got this email the other day (december 26, sunday) from a person living in southwest pa (washington area). in reading it, i was broken by the hurt and pain expressed - the expression for community, yet the non-movement of the "church" to developing that community. i think it's best if you read their words:
"I'm sick of so called churches that say they love people, that say they are reacing this generation, yet do nothing outside of the context of a program or something planned. I have attended Carpenter's Home Church for 6 months now, people would greet you and talk to you at church giving you a hug and what ever, asking how you are. They would invite me to dinner after church but not much more - I saw them calling each other on their cells and going to each others houses - I gave my cell number,to people at the church and to the "pastors". the only calls I ever got were pre-recorded messages about what is going on at the church. I shared some struggles with a pastor who told me he would be my accountability partner - he has not once asked me how I am. My job recently changed and I have missed church for 3 weeks after never missing in 6 months - no one has called and asked if I'm ok but I still get the recorded messages! I'm sick of all the BS - where are the people
who will really love you? Who express genuine community? not in South west PA thats for sure! I was off today but decided who needs it - several would come up to me with a line of BS that they missed me - even though they never tried to contact me. I hear all the stories of true community on Gink but can't find it where I live and I'm fed up! I want to be in relationship with other people but with people who are real and really care - is there such a thing?"
i am broken by all the emerging churches out there that are simply younger versions of a modern church. this idea that we "express" community but not "live" community is wrong. as an emerging community of faith we must - must (not an option) welcome all into that community - regardless of anything we can think of to limit. if we are to honestly claim community we must do more then talk the game, we need to play the game.
"servants" need to show that community is more then lip-service, more then just a "cool thing" to say - we (we are all servants) need to truly be in community - seeking out the hearts of those who are with us, and connecting to people as christ connected to people. we need to model what comunity is, how it is shared and mostly that it is open to all people.
if you know of a place in the washington/waynesburg area, just put it in the comments area.