Friday, July 8, 2011

Community: acceptance (what does unconditional acceptance look like?)

I've been thinking a lot lately about community.
It just astounds me that a thing like community
can change lives so dramatically.
I wanted to start a blogging series on community,
not because I have it figured out or am any type of
authority on the issue, but mainly because I have a lot
Of thoughts on the issue.

One thought I've been having about community is the necessity of it.
Especially about the necessity of it in college
students (because I am one). My friend Paul told me something that stuck with
me this week. He said "what people really need is not another worship service. What people
need and possibly long for is community".

I've been thinking about this lately because me my friend brent and people from
theCity church are starting a community group at suffolk manor apartments.
There are a lot of people at Suffolk manor but there's no community. We threw a party
There last week and the most suprising thing was
That there were people there who are neighbors and it seemed like they never knew each other.
So my goal is to take these people and try to cultivate community among them.

So my first post about this is on acceptance. I love this aspect of
community because it is so pivotal to creating community.

First things first what do I mean when I say acceptance?
Well the way that I see acceptance is by meeting people where
they are. Loving people purely because God loves them.
Letting people be themselves without trying to change them.
One of the most freeing parts of being free in Christ is
The fact the Christ meets us where we are in our brokenness.
And because Christ has done that for me I am able to
Show grace and acceptance to others. And in it's essence
Acceptance is grace.

One thing acceptance is not is tolerance.
I like what John Burke says about tolerance. He says that
Tolerance is only a lesser substitute for grace.
tolerance is acting like you don't like a person
because of who they are or what they do but u "deal" with them.
Acceptance or grace is different because it comes from Christ.
Acceptance is looking past ourselves and seeing what
Christ sees in everybody.

Now my big question is what does unconditional acceptance
look like?
The way that I've experienced it lately is that no matter how
Annoying, mean, insulting, corny, uptight, broken, and messed up
I am, I know I will be accepted by Christ and by the people
in my community group. Because in all reality non of us
have it all together and we all want grace and acceptance.

The reason why acceptance is so important in a community
is because if there isn't acceptance then all the other aspects
Of community aren't possible. And I think that God knew
that if we were constantly searching for acceptance with him and with others
then the growth in Him would be impossible. So acceptance is
The foundation that we build community on. The bible says
that christ did not come only for us but for the whole world.

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