I sat on my porch this morning with a cup of coffee and while scrolling through my twitter feed asked the question many of you are probably asking…
How did we get here?
The truth is I don’t have an answer to that question.
I will leave the discussion of that answer for people who are more educated than me on the subject, or perhaps have experienced racial injustice. Instead I’d like to take a baby-step towards answering an even more difficult question.
What do we do about it?
Yesterday afternoon I finished the book “Compelling Community” written by Jamie Dunlop, Associate Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. In it he encourages Churches to build themselves into what he calls “supernatural communities” that are characterized by the Gospel (being Christians) instead of similarity.
Unfortunately most Churches build community the same way the world does
“So often, we aim at nothing more than community built on similarity; I want us to aim at community characterized by relationships that are obviously supernatural. I mean the very biblical idea of a sovereign God working in space and time to do what confounds the natural laws of our world”
Dunlop goes on to explain Churches build Gospel-plus communities (based on similarity) instead of Gospel revealing communities based on being Christians. And these communities of similarity are more often than not based upon our own strength.
“Yet gospel-revealing community isn’t our first inclination, is it? Our tendency is toward gospel-plus community because it “works.”
“When Christians unite around something other than the gospel, they create community that would likely exist even if God didn’t.”
Instead of this he encourages the readers to do the hard work (sometimes taking years) of creating a community connected only by the Gospel so it can be a witness to the outside world.
“One way in which this community glorifies God is by reaching people who, apart from supernatural power, would never unite together.”
“While recognizing our tendency toward similarity, we should aspire toward community where similarity isn’t necessary—where no strand of similarity in the congregation explains the whole congregation”
Finishing this book yesterday brought a feeling of deep conviction over my Gospel-plus community philosophy, but also a passion to begin building Gospel-revealing communities only possible through the Gospel of Christ.
Perhaps the violence of this week isn’t about finding answers, but a reminder that never before does the world need to see communities of believers connected not by similarity, but the Gospel of Christ.