Been thinking a lot about how our world seems to be centred around individualism. And how it seems to be growing.

We see it constantly in our society as people retreat more and more into their own homes and lives. In a century when man reached the moon, we became less familiar with our neighbours. In a generation that has seen us able to connect with people all over the world through Internet technology, we have retreated more and more behind our closed front doors. We have become a series of disconnected dots rather than a mosaic of community. Our own TV planners, our own telephones, ipods, iTunes, ready made meals for one, are just some examples of how we have left community behind in our culture.

Sadly the same is true of church and faith. Sharing our lives has been replaced by a ‘personal’ faith. Communion has become a ‘private’ matter. Meeting together in homes has transferred to buildings. Reading the bible for ourselves, and not as a church community. Challenge to a way of lifestyle has given way to ‘my beliefs’ or ‘the principals I have.’

I believe this rise of Individualism has caused a huge barrier in spiritual growth. We have lost sight of the fact that ‘You are light of the world’ was spoken to a group of people, and that ‘shine like stars in the universe’ was a written to a set of house churches within a specific location. Instead we take the burden of this on for ourselves, and with little accountability, help or support, I attempt to shine my little light in my small corner while your do the same in yours.

And in trying, often in vain, to live out these commands ourselves in our own work, friendships and families, it is so easy to become frustrated, and even cynical or bitter. This unachievable quest becomes a burden rather than ‘an easy yoke’. As communities have fractured and split, people become more isolated, and when people become more isolated they lose accountability, encouragement, challenge, love and inspiration from fellow believers.

Instead we could be dreaming up creative and authentic ways as a community to shine our light together within the geographical area we find ourselves. Sharing our lives and spurring one another on. Celebrating the successes together and crying the tears together. Growing together and checking the welfare of our souls.

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