Minute Meditations

A Sense of Community

The hunger for meaning and the need for hope in this deconstructed society cannot be satisfied by merely private choices. Corporate evil can only be overcome by corporate good. For this reason, and many others, I’m very happy to see the growth of small groups in church and in society. As I have said since the early days of the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, we cannot think ourselves into a new way of living; we must live ourselves into a new way of thinking. It is lifestyle choices that finally change us and allow us to see in new ways. We have to create structures and institutions that think, and therefore act, differently. We have no past evidence to prove that gospel individuals alone can fully exemplify the Reign of God. This is the church’s own form of individualism, while it often condemns individualism in the world. Until we question our very lifestyle, nothing truly new is going to happen—or, as Jesus said in a perfect metaphor, if we put “new wine into old wineskins,” both will be lost (see Mark 2:22). That’s a rather clear statement about the need for gospel structures to support gospel individuals. Up to now, we have largely tried to evangelize individuals while the structures have remained monarchical and unaccountable. “Put new wine in fresh wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17).

— from The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder by Richard Rohr, OFM

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