This next section of the book, actually the final transition that leads to the author’s conclusion, is an examination of incarnational community. As defined on page 148:
“community represents aspects of togetherness – those things we share as we form our lives together.”
Integrated with the oneness of our common persuit of God and with the mission that God gives us to brand our identity as His people, it is Matt and Hugh’s premise that the Tangible Kingdom is lived in the midst of these three realities.
“We believe that whenever you see a group of people who find rhythm or balance (editorial comment, I hate that word) among communion, community, and mission, you will always find the Kingdom. It will be tangible!”
The helpful and prophetic aspect of this chapter lies not in its definition of what incarnational community is but rather what it is not…and more than that, the specificities of the barriers to community that are presented by the cultural realities of individualism, consumerism, materialism. Each of these issues are briefly examined…examinations that for many of us are not new but succinctly stated in the book to be able to illustrate a very important point – although followers of Jesus say that we are living in and for another Kingdom, we all know that the demands of the culture dictate what really happens in our lives. These deadly barriers must be confronted if we have any hope of becoming the incarnational communities God calls us to experience and to be.
Individualism will always cut to the core of oneness in community…consumerism will undermine our passion for mission and drain important resources away from the call of Jesus and finally materialism (that desire to have more stuff) detracts our attention and focus away from what is really important to God – people.
“The more we do together – the less individualistic we’ll be. The more we become one in Christ, the less consumer-oriented we’ll be. The more we do for others, the less materialistic we’ll be.”
Tomorrow…a little more specificity about togetherness…