Following up on the previous blog, what makes a community “authentic”?

By that I mean, at what point are you engaged with other people when you feel that you can really be yourself, foibles and all?

Back “in the day” church was the place where you gathered with some people, called it your faith community (maybe) and did churchy stuff together. This really isn’t found as much today. People are looking for a place (read people) where they can both be real, encounter God, and share their lives with one another. This environment, this community, cannot be forced, it is fostered of time. It takes a great deal of relationship building, well beyond the surface stuff that many of us have honed to perfection. I believe that when we get to a place with ourselves that we can let our guard down, and break some of the walls that we have built over the years, authenticity begins to take shape. As people intentionally put themselves together an authentic community begins to be built. The amazing thing is that others are attracted to such a community. They may stay on the periphery for some time, but eventually – typically by a personal invitation they will go deeper. I believe that it is part of God’s expectation that we work on being authentic communities where we can grow and learn, practice and do what God has asked of us – love boldly, act always with mercy, be radical in justice, and walk in humility with God.

I’d love to hear your continued thoughts on this topic of community.