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Monday, October 04, 2004

Role of community in the healing process

During lunch today, I chatted with my wife, and discussed with her some of the things I posted about last night. I shared with her about some of the things I was thinking about regarding the place of the church family in the process of healing of individuals. My wife took out the book that she is currently reading and read me a passage that I thought was just so apt to what I have been thinking that I'd like to quote it here (incidentally, while I went back to the office, my wife decided to type it up for me in the computer, so that saved me having to re-type it):

This book is a call to connect, to work with people as they struggle to kill their bad urges and pour into them what is most alive within us to help them arouse their good urges.

We've thought about a variety of concepts that hopefully can stir us and better equip us to connect:

  • The Trinity, the eternally connecting community, a pattern for our relationships.
  • The gospel, God’s provision of forgiveness form sin, a future of perfect community, and the freedom to connect more deeply with God, others and ourselves.
  • The New Covenant, that wonderful arrangement established by God through which he actually plants the urge to be good within our hearts. We no longer need to merely exhort people to do what’s right or work on people to fix what’s wrong; now we can connect with them to release what’s good.
  • God wants us to mortify the flesh, the source of all those bad urges that try to convince us we’d be better off yielding to them, and he helps us destroy our bad urges by arranging for us tso spend time in the desert, to walk in impenetrable darkness, to encounter unexplained difficulties, and to face the damage our selfishness causes others.
  • The glory given to us by Christ, empowering us to reveal the Father’s heart as we enter the battle for someone’s soul, develop a vision for what they could become, and release the energy of Christ within us by pouring our own deepest selves into others an so arousing their urges to do good...

...[o]n many occasions, however, something different from healing power comes out of us. When children disappoint us, when friends worry us, when spouses keep their distance, we back away from meaningful engagement. Often we do little more than moralize or, if things seem too complicated, we suggest professional help.

In many interactions with people, we build our cities by looking good, fitting in, impressing someone, or veiling impatience or boredom with social courtesy. Or we busily light a few fires: arguing a point, feeling defensive, or enjoying someone's agreement too much. Sometimes we whitewash flimsy walls, reminding ourselves that our lives will probably be spared significant tragedy because we deserve certain blessings, we take our faith quite seriously, and we're rather vital to God's purposes. Most often we dig our wells, doing whatever it takes to feel the way we want to fell or, if that's not possible, arranging to feel at least a bit better...

...[t]here is a wonderful energy in each our hearts, placed so deeply in us by the Holy Spirit that no failure or heart break can dislodge it. Our spirit are alive with the actual life of Christ.

The quote is from Connecting-, by Larry Crabb. In this book, Crabb calls for a different kind of community in our churches, one that seeks to heal each other from within, and to partake in the gift of healing from God as we live in community, connecting with one another through the life giving Spirit of God who has been shed abroad in our hearts. My wife thinks it is a powerful book. From what I've seen I'd agree with her.