For all of its creature comforts, ammenities and aggravations, the lifestyle of SubMaj crosses against the grain of our human natures and if allowed to run unchecked, is crippling to our walk in the faith. On face, this may seem hard to swallow but I'll defend this view as I unpack these thoughts.
We are, as humans, communal creatures. From the first days in the Garden, to the postdiluvian period, humans have lived communally. This fact is attested to by archeological finds in places that range from Jericho to deep under the black sea. People have lived in villages, shires, and cities due to the Divine hardwiring of our creation. Consider...
- We were created in the image of the Godhead, an eternal community of three personages existing as one essential being. The Father, Son, and Spirit have never existed apart from one another. They didn't pull into their castles, shut themselves in only to meet once a week. As reflections of the Divine, we too have that need and desire for relational community.
- Almost after his creation, the Godhead noted that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Was he technically alone? No, he had his own private zoo where he could teach the dog to fetch the tennisball and teach the chimps to play soccer. Yet, he had no equal in which to relate with and to. Hence the Godhead brought forth Eve and commanded the two to create a community of humanity (fruitful multiplication).
- Even in our postmodern society, this ache for community can be seen in the proliferation of entities like myspace and facebook, where the hermits of SubMaj have created virtual communities.
To this point, I've addressed humanity as a whole. When we take this to followers of Christ, the stakes become even higher.
Prior to arriving in SubMaj, the fair Robin and I lived in western Maryland, between Hagerstown and Frederick. In this area, nearly all of the churches (denominations not withstanding) met multiple times throughout the week. Too, my particular fellowship gathered once a month with other sister congregations for a "district worship meeting". These times worked together to forge a strong sense of community amoung the saints and folk had plenty of opportunity to uplift and encourage one another.
Shortly after arriving in the Flatlands, the absence of this community became painfully clear. Folk simply couldn't be bothered to gather beyound 12:01 PM on a Sunday, and the idea of a District worship service was unheard of. This lack of community has proved toxic to my former church (Church of God, Cleveland, TN), and that group is in serious decline here in NoVA.
Next (and final installment), the Percription. Be there, Aloha.