Ernie Fitzpatrick asked:
It’s possible to have both competition and community. But I admit that it is difficult in America. Anyone who follows baseball just a little has heard of George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees who proclaimed, “I want this team to win. I am obsessed with winning, with discipline, with achieving. That’s what this country is all about.” That the good news and the bad news.
What sociologists know is that the religion of a country mirrors the government and culture.
In America that translates into building the bigger and better church so that the people down the street will leave their church to come and join yours. Bigger is better and if both are “bigger” then the programs must be “better”. Worse yet though is the inner mentality that says not only are we bigger and better, we’re RIGHT!
That one will leave a mark!
Being RIGHT or thinking that one was right, while everyone else was WRONG, has killed hundreds of millions of people throughout various religious wars- in the name of God of course. History has also shown that wherever GRACE reigns, competition always gives way to COMMUNITY!
The purpose of religion should be to return us to our roots, to God, and therein be evidenced by the love that a group of people (community) have for one another. In a true community, each person is looking out for each other. Love if the freedom we all seek. While there is competition it’s not in a WIN-LOSE format but a WIN-WIN one.
Harvey Cox put it this way, “The precious local church is where the Word becomes flesh. I do not believe any modern Christian can survive without some such grounding in a local congregation”. There’s a reason that the average church in America, of which there are more than 450,000, has 75 members. And there’s a reason why there are mega churches in America with 2,000-50,000 members.
Do you know those reasons?
The latter has an “institutional consciousness” built around a “name brand” and an well known “advertised leader” while the former have a community consciousness built around the people that make up the group. Each has it’s good points and its not so good points. Life may take you from one to another back again, depending upon where you are in life and your own consciousness level. But in both one must learn to live life graciously to truly find God.