Saturday, April 11, 2015

Relational Christianity

One of the most intriguing things that has grasped my attention recently in my Christian faith, is the concept and important of Community. As a single person, it gives me a unique experience into the struggles people can have, and without my singleness, I would not have found other voice who feel lonely and isolated yet welcomed and accepted by their Church.

My bible study and reading over the years has given me a model of Christian living that is rich in community, showing itself in fellowship, support, care and love for on another, in strong bonds of friendship that should be some of the closest we have in our lives.

We have a relationship with God through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are reconciled to him, therefore, as I've said a few times before, we should be reconciled to each other. We are interconnected as one body, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, we are the same in Christ, no division, no barriers. If one of us hurts, we all hurt!

As Jesus said, a new commandment I give you, to love on another.

But how do we go about loving on another if we don't spend the time to get to know one another and walk with each other.

Let me start off by giving you a break down of a typical week.

A week is 7 days, or 168 hours. A typical breakdown of our week, may be as follows:

Work - 5 Days at 8 hours - that's 40 hours, or 24% of our week.
Travel for work, lets say again 5 days and 2 hours, 10 hours in total or 6% of our week
Sleep: 7 Days at 8 hours a day, or 56 hours - 33% of our week

63% of our week is taken up on working, getting to work and sleep.

Lets allow an hour a day for eating, 7 hours in total, or 4%.

That's now 67%

We have 33%, or 56 hours to divide amongst our other things. Shopping, Friends, Family, Socialising, Reading, Scripture Study, other Study, Extra Work, Prayer, Relaxation, Housework, Paperwork

We typically spend two hours a week in Church - if that. That works out to be 1% of our week, or 3.5% of our remaining time. Actually if you take off the time of the worship and concentrate just on the fellowship before and after, it's more like half an hour we spend in genuine fellowship, 0.3% of our week, 0.9% of our spare time - if we even turn up at all. How comfortable are we spending less than 1% of our time in fellowship with other believers?

If we're honest with ourselves, the vast majority of us probably spend very little time in fellowship, in deep friendship with our fellow Christians. Doing a break down like this actually makes me think in some respects Im being unfair - it is difficult to cram in every single responsibility we need to do in life into our week. But could we perhaps prioritise better, cut out the crud, amalgamate the unnecessary, organise better, kill two birds with one stone, and rely on the kindness of others?

Ok, we only have 56 hours left in our week, but if our Church priority is so far down the pecking order, is it any wonder our Church relationships suffer? I feel compelled to write in my next post about why this issue is occuring and look at the issue of fragmentation in our social and Church life which is holding back our progress on Church and fellowship, but for now, lets keep this to relationships.

I love my Church friends. But there is heartache when I realise that all I get to see is a glimpse of them for less than 1% of my week. I see cards, and gifts going around, invites to social events, and feel even more alone and isolated.

I simply like spending quality time with my fellow Christians who I love, getting to know them, learn from them, understand them, building a relationship, friendship, growing community and doing what I can to help, care, love, support, lighten the load and offer prayer when needed. Christianity is relational. As we have a relationship with Christ, so we should have a strong relationship with each other. We have a duty to create connections with each other. Maybe then we can find people willing to lend a hand, help us on our way, support us and encourage us.