BY WESLEIGH ANDERSON
In our perpetually connected society, it is trivial to find others who share our pastimes and opinions, or to communicate frictionlessly via the internet with nearly anyone else on the planet, and the world itself (a so-called “global village”) has been defined by the limits—or rather, the lack thereof—of its own interconnectedness. I can think of no better place where this is exemplified than Cal itself; merely step onto Sproul on a sunny day to be bombarded with invitations to join every sort of community, from professional development organizations to political activism groups to musical ensembles, and yes, to Christian fellowships as well. Whatever the nature of community, it would seem that community cannot help but be present, and the sheer overwhelming plurality of communities present hinders any attempt to privilege any one in particular.
In light of this, is “Community” already obsolete as the theme of this semester’s issue of To An Unknown God? We are faced with a world where to consider community as essential in its own right would seem to be superfluous: who can say that we are lacking in knowledge of community? In quantity? In value?
But, readers, the most important community is that which is often hardest to see. We know, abstractly, that we comprise a community far greater than our midweek small groups or Sunday services, that each of us is a member of the universal Church, linked intimately to one another through Jesus Christ our Head (Eph 4:1-16). We know that when Christ established His Church on earth, He built it out of people, the Twelve Disciples and others, from wildly varying walks of life, from lowly fishers to wealthy tax collectors, from religious leaders to the worst of sinners. And we know that He did not stop there, but rather commanded His followers to spread His kingdom to the Jews, the Samaritans, the Gentiles, and to all nations to the ends of the earth, that they might encourage, instruct, and build one another up in the name of the Lord (Ac 1:8-9; 14:22).
We know this, and yet what we call our churches, our communities, are monolithic—one style of worship, one style of service, one race, one identity; and that identity not even in the Lord. We settle for the communities of our friends, with whom we have interests in common, instead of reaching out to those with whom our only connection is our faith in Christ.
As you explore this issue of our journal, consider the foundations and the boundaries of your communities. Let them not be built of passions, except our passion for Christ; let them not be built of commonalities, except our common inheritance as children of God; and let our communities be limited by nothing but these things. And to those of you who have not yet found that community in Christ, we invite you to join us, that you may know Him with us as Friend, as Savior, as Lord. Together we might fulfill the community Christ called us to create, bound by our need for a Savior, who holds us together and perfectly unites us in Him.