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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Commitment, Community, & Church

Two heart-stirring blog posts I recently read inspired me tonight to re-read a wonderful book I read a few years back called,“Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God” by Joshua Harris. One of the blog posts that inspired me to do this was written by my sister, Lisa ( ) and the other was written by Brent Rood, the pastor at the church where my sister Nisha belongs ( ).

Here are a few quotes from the blog posts that struck me:

“Grace. Justice. Forgiveness. It was all very expensive. And we get the ‘all-expense paid’ gift. Yet, we live our lives as if we can go on doing whatever we want. Feeding our own desires. Living our lives with no sacrifice on our part. Hoping to get the best of both worlds.” --Lisa Barton at

“I'm tired of us treating Jesus like a blog we're following. Knowing the stories that have been told, but not taking the time to get to know Him. The importance is not on the knowledge of His existence, but on the relationship with Him. A relationship that orders change. To be more like Him, and less like you.—Lisa Barton

“There is no question having common personality, likes, and passions with someone else definitely makes connections and conversations much easier. Who wouldn't want to be with people just like themselves. However, affinity can be deceptive. Affinity draws people to the natural and self-fulfilling parts of community, while easily avoiding the difficult parts. The difficult parts of community are often very important for healthy community to exist. I heard a quote recently that said, "When the person you least likely want to be in the room is there that is community." For community to exists we need people who are easy to get along with, but we also need those people who challenge our beliefs, confront our complacency, and reveal a different set of likes and dislikes. Affinity can often produce clones who are more in love with the idea of friendship, than really be a friend. It is this affinity concept which often created "holy huddles" among Christians, or mini-clubs of only one type of people. Affinity also doesn't address the need for us to help others and not just receive our own self-fulfillment.”—Brent Rood at

“If we are unwilling to engage both in our own struggles and that of others we can sit 3 feet from someone else until the world ends and be in complete isolation.” –Brent Rood

“Engaging involves the courage of transparency. It is revealing what we truly believe, and not just what we think others want to hear. Engaging means an attitude of humility. We must be willing to admit struggle, admit our disillusion, and accept the advice and confrontation of others. Engaging involves true interest in others. Are we really interested in what others have to say? Are we truly interested in how to support them in their own brokenness, or do we simply want them to meet our needs?:--Brent Rood

“In the local church world there is a fairly large segment of people I would just call "Group-Hoppers". They are often the first to join a group of some kind. They speak longingly of their need for community. After about 6 months of attendance but little engagement they quit the group then go find another one. They hope by announcing to everyone their love and need of community and people will rally around them with a ticker-tape parade love and approbation. When they don't receive the community experience they long for they become jaded and blame the group or program for not meeting their need. Yet in their narcissism they are blinded to the fact that in most cases the others in the group are often as broken, needy, and insecure as they are. Others in the group may not know how to engage in community and struggle just as much to develop good relationships. Eventually, after temporarily joining several groups in the church without success the "Group-Hoppers" hop away from that local church all together and go try another one. Wash, rinse, repeat.” –Brent Rood

In my next post, I will talk more about what struck me in Joshua Harris’ book, “Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God”. If you are contemplating what it means to commit to a church or why that is important or what you should consider before committing to a church, I cannot more highly recommend Harris’ book. It is a short and meaningful read with direct relevance to any Christian's life—it is well worth your time.