When I worked with at-risk young people — most of whom had suffered abuse and neglect – they regularly told me how they didn’t need church. They could read the Bible, pray, etc. on their own. Their opinion was understandable — most of them had been hurt or let down by their faith communities. Some had even been abused by supposedly “faithful” people.
There are limitations to “going it alone.” Although we avoid the sometimes painful realities of living in community — the hurt, the disappointment, the frustration — we also miss the support, nurture and challenge of living and being with others. How else do we learn patience than by dealing with with a challenging brother or sister in Christ? How else do we learn new ways to pray than by listening to the experience an elder? How else can we be challenged to change, but by listening to the fresh buy valtrex no prescription needed perspective of the young?
Through all this experience, we gain wisdom that cannot be learned simply by praying and reading alone. We gain it by being part of the big, frustrating and joyful mess called Christian community. This weekend two such communities are forming in the Iowa Conference UCC. Called to Lead groups, offering support and accountability for faith formation leaders (Watch these videos about how some people have already gained wisdom in these communities.) and PATHWAYS, our dynamic new lay education offering adults a way to discern God’s call and deepen their faith. Please pray for these groups of faithful people as they journey together this year.
What has been your most significant experience of Christian community, for good or ill? How has that experience deepened your wisdom?