Saturday, September 13, 2008

We went to visit a friend of ours today who lives about seventy miles east of us. This friend is who supplies us with milk, and also runs our grain co-op. They have a lovely farm, around twenty acres with cows, chickens, turkeys, ducks, goats, and a defunct garden. They have five sons, all homeschooled, and like me they are passionate about healthy local "real" foods. Grinding grain and making bread is part of everyday life, just as is taking care of the farm and raising animals and food to feed their family. In the next few years they are planning on putting in fruit trees, and expanding their animals and garden.

We were talking about the bible, as they are our "brand" of Christian. Bible believing, verse by verse studying, take it literally and study at home types. Like us they have been very frustrated with the church in America as of late. This seeker friendly mega church milk only body that is all about fluff and media and pleasure, not about really digging into the word of Christ.

So we started to discuss Acts 2 a bit. In the Book of Acts Chapter 2 Jesus has just ascended to heaven, and the church is left behind. Peter gives a pretty cool sermon, then we read what the church was like in verses 42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 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. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Do we see anything like this in the American church today? I know I've seen in a few times, heard tell of a few Christian communes or deliberate Christian communities, but for the most part does this picture look like your church? Does it look like your friends, or your church family?

I see a LOT of people in the church who are taking taking taking. They are taking entertainment on sunday morning, they are taking fluffy sermons and doing nothing with them, they are taking part of their tithe and using it to fund their lifestyle.

But do we really gather together, and share everything we have? Do you see how these people EVERY DAY gathered together. They sold their possessions and gave to anyone who had needs. The church was a hippie commune! I can just see them coming together everyday, one would bring a surplus of figs from their tree, another a windfall of grain, and a third some extra oil. They would divide up their bounty with anybody who needed anything, and praise God.

Do we do that in the Christian church today? To often I see the church, myself included, giving their ten percent and not a penny more. We NEED that money you see, to pay our cable bill, or for our cell phones, or the new portable DVD player for our car.

So, the sailor and I do what we can with what we have. We don't live extravagant lifestyles, we live pretty simply. We don't have cell phones, or the newest televisions or the nicest clothes. We live a comfortable lifestyle for sure, perhaps a little to comfortable honestly. As we continually look at ourselves in an effort to make ourselves more like Jesus wants us we realize there is much we can give up in our own lives to help others.

But we have decided on a few long term goals. One is to attempt to live deliberately in a community, especially once he is out of the military. I say after that because it is very very difficult to establish community with people who are moving on in six months. There is a camaraderie for sure, but not the time it takes to develop true community.

We plan on living in an urban setting of sorts, perhaps in a smaller city, but we'll see. We want to live in the city, or a small town, not in the suburbs. We want to raise chickens, fruit and vegetables and share our bounty with those who live around us. We want to be able to practically provide food for people in need, and show the love of Christ in a tangible way. But we hope to have a body of fellow believers living the same type of lifestyle.

When I was a kid the woman across the street had a pear tree. She would let everybody from the neighborhood take their fill of those amazing heirloom pears. We canned for weeks these pears and shared our canned pears back with Mrs. Fanning. Down the street someone had plums, and another person had a huge strawberry patch in the spring. Everybody would share their bounty and because we all had a variety, we all had everything.

That's what we want in our future.

Now we just have to find, or build, our community.

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