Fifty-two readings on living in intentional Christian community to spark group discussion.
Why, in an age of connectivity, are our lives more isolated and fragmented than ever? And what can be done about it? The answer lies in the hands of God’s people. Increasingly, today’s Christians want to be the church, to follow Christ together in daily life. From every corner of society, they are daring to step away from the status quo and respond to Christ’s call to share their lives more fully with one another and with others. As they take the plunge, they are discovering the rich, meaningful life that Jesus has in mind for all people, and pointing the church back to its original calling: to be a gathered, united community that demonstrates the transforming love of God.
Of course, such a life together with others isn’t easy. The selections in this volume are, by and large, written by practitioners – people who have pioneered life in intentional community and have discovered in the nitty-gritty of daily life what it takes to establish, nurture, and sustain a Christian community over the long haul.
Whether you have just begun thinking about communal living, are already embarking on a shared life with others, or have been part of a community for many years, the pieces in this collection will encourage, challenge, and strengthen you. The book’s fifty-two chapters can be read one a week to ignite meaningful group discussion.
About the editor: Charles E. Moore is a member of the Bruderhof community and teaches at the Mount Academy in New York. He writes for Plough Quarterly and has compiled and edited several acclaimed books, including Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard, Everyone Belongs to God: Discovering the Hidden Christ, and Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship.
Community is about learning to care enough to invest in the lives of those around us. Our mission is to follow the command to love, but we can't do that unless we're willing to get involved in the lives of others. Jean Vanier says "A Community is only truly a body when the majority of its members is making the transition ‘from the community for myself’ to the ‘myself for the community,’ when each person's heart is opening to all the others, without any exceptions." I would recommend this book to anyone interested in building a strong Christian community.
Called to Community lays claim to a fundamental truth: Christian faith is connecting faith. As a direct challenge to the individualism and isolationism of contemporary secular notions of “freedom”, Charles Moore has brought together some seminal thinkers for reflecting on the abundant life, the life together, that Jesus envisions for those who follow him.
Have you ever had the unsettling experience of being in a room filled with people, desiring nothing more than to make an authentic connection with just one person, but leaving feeling disconnected and more alone than ever before? Ironically, in a world where advances in digital technology have seemingly brought humanity closer together, on a personal level, we are more isolated and further apart than ever before! When Jesus said that He came so that we may have life and that we may have life more abundantly, this is obviously not the life that he envisioned for us. If you are tired of living a disconnected, fragmented life – if you’re ready to make meaningful connections – if you’re ready to explore the abundant life that Jesus describes in John 10:10 – then Called To Community: The Life Jesus Wants For His People will be of great interest to you!
Not all these contributors are across-the-board cheerleaders: the challenges of living in community – real, radical community rather than the lipstick-level interactions we often content ourselves with – are discussed at length in several of the fifty-two chapters, from a variety of perspectives. For me as a pastor, blogger, and Christian, such honesty is refreshing. That level of straightforwardness ought not be so rare a thing in my line of work, but that too is a part of community: it should (in theory) breed further authenticity and honesty in each of us. Called to Community treats community for what it is rather than what we might want it to be or not be: something amazing, something difficult, and something ultimately worth striving for.
If you are involved in a missional community, or if you are contemplating it, or if you just want to know how to maximize the sense of community in your local congregation or prayer group, “Called to Community” can be a priceless, and much used, resource.