churches work against community

I jumped in on this thread over at Emergent, and the conversation is steering toward the macro level rather than the ethnic + inter-cultural level, which is just as good a direction to go, given the collective aggregate voices there.. I?ve found that people aren?t comfortable talking about ethnic + racial identity issues, particularly Asians. It?s like this: other races can?t joke about your race, but you can joke about your own, except when you?re Asian. Asian culture values not losing face, so I think they?re much more sensitive about whether they can joke about themselves. I can say it b/c I?m Asian. 🙂 [and notice the schizoid 3rd person referential]

The excerpt below echos a lot of my sentiments that have been stirring since those seminary dorm conversations, where the allegedly future leaders of the church were being formed.. and our converations then went along the lines of: ?do you have to like the people you?re leading + serving?, some said ?yes, of course? (these had a better shot at building community); others (your stereotypical leader who is not fostering community) said ?no, you don?t have to like them – you just have to like them?. It?s too simplistic to say one?s relational vs. task-oriented, respectively; and to quote below excerpt is not to do the Asian thing of ?I couldn?t say it better than this?. [but I did want to put it here so Google will pick it up; cf. It?s Okay to Go There: The Place of Friendship in Ministry]

Neo wrote these insightful words at Emergent Village?s message board:

?There?s a reason why community is so non-existent in our churches. OR there?s a reason why, when it does exist, it is pathetically lacking in depth and intimacy. We simply don?t know any better.

Most pastors were never shown community. Never experienced it for themselves. Most church leaders read an article about cell groups or bought a book on small group ministries and followed the easy quick-start guide to success.

True community is something that you can?t learn from a book. You can?t buy it, hire it, conjur it up at an elder meeting. You need to be infected by it. I am spoiled. I?ve been blessed to have experienced real community at several times in my life. I?ve tasted it. But when I?m offered community in my current church setting, it?s lke giving dollar store cookies to a guy who?s had grandma?s toll house chocolate chips fresh from the oven. Thanks, but no thanks.

We need to do something about our leadership – they need to know community to lead their churches in it. Alas, the HUGE elephant in the room: our current church culture prohibits community for its leaders. You are a leader – you are to be strong – show no weakness (especially to another person in your church). And as a leader, you can?t show any sign of weakness to the competition (other leaders). After all, we are in a competition, right? ? [more]

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