Sunday, June 04, 2006

Communism! but not godless communism

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
from Acts 2.44-47
Does that sound interesting to you? I find it both attractive and scary myself. On one hand, nobody wins the rat race. Many of us work at jobs we don't care for to get money to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't even particularly like, and what's the use of that? Especially if the "things we don't need" include a gas-guzzling motor vehicle, in which case we get to destroy the environment, deplete the oil supply, pay an arm and a leg, and look like a fool all at once.

On the other hand, would you enter a commune like the one described in Acts 2... if those others included all the members of your church? Would they enter one that included you?

Why or why not? Let me put that on hold for a minute and make a couple of observations.

It's interesting to note here that it says "they gave to anyone" -- it doesn't say "to anyone who didn't lose his house at the blackjack table." It doesn't say specifically what they gave, although I suppose that after a couple of times, drunkards were given food rather than cash.

It also says "all the believers", which I think is really interesting. It doesn't say "all the really committed believers" or "all the active church members"; it says "all the believers."

So apparently something very unusual happened there in Jerusalem shortly after the day of Pentecost.

Back to the thought-experiment -- and a True Confession

So would you sign up for a commune that included all the members -- no, make that all the believers -- in your church?

I'm not going to answer it right here (but I will if you will)... but I will make an observation -- this time about my life, rather than about the text.

I don't really feel like I fit in at my church. People find us strange. One fellow told me, a couple years after getting to know me, that I first struck him as an odd duck, and I think lots of other people look at us that way too. Our lifestyle is different, our politics are different, our priorities are different.

Actually I think I fit in better at work than I do at church, on the average. I mean, the people we feel closest to are people we know from church. But walking into a room of random people from church, vs random people from the office, I'd tend to feel more comfortable in the latter case.

Is this a sign that I am a friend of the world (and thus an enemy of God)? But it's not just me; the lovely Carol sometimes feels this way.

Or does it mean that I have higher (less realistic) expectations of the relationships with people from church?

Or something else?

1 comment:

Carlos Estrada said...

Anyone worth their salt should feel odd at church once in a odd duck. Glad to be one too.