Dan , in his “blog stream” of posts on Christianity and Capitalism, posted this early this morning, and I was particularly drawn to this observation :
What really got me thinking about all this in more detail was something a friend of mine wrote recently. He and his wife are rooted in an innercity neighborhood and trying to find ways of journeying alongside of the people there. He wrote this:
I’ve talked about doing a lot of things… I wanted to have people over for dinners, to invite those I find on the street into my home to hang out and eat. I also wanted to be involved in the local school… I want to spend time with my neighbors… However, as days, then weeks and finally years go by, and I haven’t acted…I begin to ask myself why.
[And the answer always comes back…because I don’t really, truly, want to. If I did, then I would.
Therefore, if the Christian community is to exist as a truly genuine alternative to capitalism we need another Reformation. However, we need something that goes deeper than a re-formation of doctrine; what we need is a re-formation of desire. How then can we begin to engage in such a re-formation?
This nails it in regards to what I have been recognizing about my previous 30 years. I was exposed to The Church of the Saviour in the summer of 1976, and at that point dove headlong into exploring just what it was that happened amongst that people that brought such radical challenges into the light and enabled them to form the kind of radical interdependence and belonging that their community had been living for , at that point, about 20 years. But as Dan’s friend recounts above,
However, as days, then weeks and finally years go by, and I haven’t acted…I begin to ask myself why.
Although I would often “return” or “pull in” various insights from the experience of The Church of the Saviour in my future “programs” in my youth ministry or in leadership roles as a student in student ministries over the next 9 years, I basically slid right into the routines of consumerism, and rode along with the failures of Christian communities to be much of a unique or alien culture to that of the stats quo “American Christianity”. I would have these intense times of “re-immersion” into the things which explore just how they did it (like taking a youth group from Iowa in 1984 on a “tour” of the Church of the Saviour, but then I remembered how frustrated I was in failing to find a way to “dare to try” some of the structures of commitment and mission and calling to which the testimonials of various members of COS constantly made reference. We talked about what we thought, but were not able to “break through” the “grip” that everyday life (the culture) had on us.
And that continues on. I find myself of late visiting churches (although that has been less focused of late) and longing for so much more, and any hint of anyone anywhere trying to take more seriously the nature of the church as a radical relatedness in which we are called to participate, and find a support structure that enables us to draw upon the transformative power of God to make us into “a people” that embody an alternative to the world’s structures.