These thoughts were adapted from a talk that I did at Taylor University’s National Student Leadership Conference in February. They were originally posted on the V-3 Church Planting blog.
British journalist George Monbiot has declared that we live in “the age of loneliness,” and despite all our technology, we live increasingly disconnected and lonely lives. So, what are we to do? How do we begin the work of restorying the world, of giving shape to new stories that help us live more connected and more meaningful lives?
A Thread Through History
This work, I believe, begins locally with embodied communities. Most importantly, it happens in our local churches, where we are connected not only with real flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters in Christ, but where we are also, whether we realize it or not, connected to a particular faith tradition, a story or more precisely an interwoven thread of stories that goes back as far as the beginning of time – connecting us to other people in other places and indeed to all humanity. Connection can and certainly does happen in other embodied communities as well: in neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. But typically these communities do not have the sort of history and continuity that our churches have. The biblical story in which our churches are rooted, claims to really and truly be good news for us, for others and for all creation, in ways that other communities simply don’t. Shouldn’t this community and this narrative stream be the one that we leap into? Shouldn’t it be the one through which we make sense of all other communities and all other stories that we find ourselves a part of?
Our Journey into a More Connected Life
Thirteen years ago, my wife and I became a part of Englewood Christian Church on the urban Near Eastside of Indianapolis. It’s a long, complicated story of how we got there, which I’ll skip for now, but we were drawn to ways in which this little church actively tried to share life with one another and with their neighbors.