Monday, November 9, 2009

Spiritual Community and Book Give-away!

We like to sit in the back at church because we used to be Baptist.  No, seriously, it's because there's free coffee back there.  No, actually, it's because we like to have some room to move around when we worship (no one should be staring at the back of my head while I'm jumping up and down like a crazy person).  We also get a great view of all the other people in the room.  On this particular day I kept seeing people I recognize.

I'm about to tell you how big our church is, but first I have to explain that living in a small city like Bend, 3 hours from another Costco, it's rare to find a large group of people congregating, anywhere.  One example of a crowd you see often is at the base of the Pine Marten chair lift at 8:59 am on December 26th.  But that's mostly tourists.

Needless to say, Westside Church is fairly large and you can certainly feel lost in the crowd, but now that we've been attending there for over five years, I feel like an established part of this community.  So here I was, sitting in the back.  I began to recognize people: a woman from a Bible Study I participated in a few years ago, a man in my husband's men's group, a family whose kids are friends with our kid, a single mom from our MOPS group, a woman who works at the local grocery store, my insurance guy, a customer of mine... the list goes on.  It hits me all of a sudden:  I belong here.  I love these people.  They help me walk through life, transformed rather than conformed to the world.  Not a superficial thing, at all.  And impossible to do, alone.

I usually try not to wax too spiritual in my blog, but I can't help myself.  I'm a deeply spiritual person barely contained by some very thin layers of superficiality and vague appropriateness.  What I want to know is, what do you value about your spiritual community?  Or what do you wish for in a spiritual community?  Answer the question as a response to this posting by November 30th (Facebookers, you have to actually go to the blog) and you could win a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible, deluxe edition.  This children's Bible is unique in that it relates every story in the Bible back to Jesus, from Genesis to Revelation.  I love it and I hope you will too.  I'll draw a name from the comments at the end of the month.

This blog is quickly becoming about community, and I'm excited to see your comments, about yours!  Oh yeah, and I picked that photo 'cuz the happy crowd-surfing girl kind of looks like me.  But she's not.  She's from Lollapalooza.com.

6 comments:

Bo said...

Oh, Tori I LOVED this post. I don't know where my life would be without true community. For me, authentic community is one where we "stick". We stick through the messy seasons, the painful diagnoses, the happy engagements, the new babies, the failed business, the harsh words and the tight hugs. We just stick, because relationship is worth it and it's wrestled out in the happy and sad of life in big, big ways.

Glad to be part of your community of faith.

Bo

Thru a Tori-lens said...

Thanks, Bo! You are definitely part of our community! :)

Tiffany said...

Wow, that's a big question, sis. I think the thing I value most about community is the way I experience Christ through the lens of others. My relationship with Him has greater depth because it is shaped and fashioned by His relationship with those around me. To those who are vulnerable enough to share their lens with me, I am profoundly grateful.

Thru a Tori-lens said...

Thanks, Tiffany- gratefulness is a good word for how I feel, too...

Danielle K said...

I headed over from Jamie's blog at Steady Mom! This book is on my wish list for my daughter's Christmas gifts!

The thing I value most about our spiritual community is that the church family embraces the vision of our church- to reach secular Washington DC with the message of Christ. We are not, as our pastor says, a country club for the healed. We are a place for the sick. Each of us Christians is on a journey to become more like Christ, still sinners but living by grace purchased only by the blood of Christ. We do not isolate ourselves among fellow Christians. We live, love, and interact with our friends, family, and neighbors. This emphasis is of the utmost importance to my husband and me - acknowledging our dependency on Christ and hoping to share the Truth with those around us!

Thru a Tori-lens said...

Danielle- thanks for your comments! Our pastor says the same- he also says we're not a cruise ship, we're a battleship, which I also like. :) Thanks for coming over! Hope to "see" you around again.