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community

How are you doing this week?

You know how we pass people during our day and say, "What's up?" or "How you doing?" Do we really want them to answer the question? If they did, that would mean we'd have to stop our day. Get off our schedule. Get distracted. And listen.

Back in the 1800s, our world was about progress. The Industrial Revolution taught us we could accomplish anything through new technologies. Life was good. We depended on our neighbors and community for everything. We got food from our farming friends. Someone handed us a newspaper. Doctors and teachers were often paid in agricultural or farming products. We lived near or with our immediate and extended families. We needed each other and we were optimistic.

Then war and international crisis changed our worldview in the 1900s. Our country turned pessimistic. New technologies enabled us to distance ourselves even more from our community. Today in 2008, we can attend school online and never face a live teacher. We can bank online and never talk to a teller. We can pass our neighbors at Walmart and not realize they live right next door to us.

In one sense, technology is connecting us more than at any point in known history. I live 5,000 miles from my parents but through email, instant messaging and cell phones, they feel very close.

But in other ways, we are growing increasingly distant from each other. We're tempted to believe we don't need each other anymore. We have a "crisis of community."

This is where the church comes in with an authentic hope for creating real communities. The gift of the church is that it's our community. Once a week, we come together and share our lives with each other. We share the blessings that fill us with joy. We laugh over the random and funny moments of our day. We hug, cry and pray when a loved one is struggling.

God created us for community with each other and with God. There's a reason we feel alive in community. It's a glimpse of heaven.

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