Friday, November 26, 2010


I trust everyone thoroughly enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving and the tryptophan coma that followed dinner. I know I did.

On Monday, I highlighted the movie You Can’t Take It With You, commenting on the sense of community the theme inspires. While I admire the acceptance of diversity creating such a unique and inviting community, that’s only one side of the coin. Because community thrives on commonalities as its foundation.

For example, I work for a zoo now, and as a rule, zoos are strict conservationists. Not only do they love animals, but they are also concerned about issues such as recycling.

While I’ve always respected and appreciated animals, I’ve never been on the leading edge of recycling. Yes, I see its value, but my conscious didn’t usually speak up about throwing a Diet Coke can away in the wrong bin or stuffing another plastic bag into the trashcan.

Now, I work in a community of recycling-conscious individuals. Therefore, I am keenly aware of their eyes watching what I do with that can, or what I drink water out of, or whether I reuse a plastic bag or not.

Really, it’s good for me. I mean, fanaticism isn’t good for anyone, but I can be mindful of my habits and adjust accordingly.

As I walked the extra few steps to the aluminum can recycling bin to toss my empty Diet Coke can the other day, I marveled at the principle of community. I’m much more likely to think “recycle that can” because I work in an environment where that is a high priority.

The same principle applies to communities of faith.

The more I participate in a fellowship of faith, the more I will act on the values we share.

Going to church has slipped a rung or two on the ladder of importance in modern times, for many reasons. Sometimes, finding the right church is like getting half way through Goldielocks and the Three Bears – too hot, too cold – haven’t found just right quite yet. Other times, past experiences have wounded people beyond foreseeable repair, so they’re reluctant to put themselves out there anymore, to trust any body of Believers. Whatever the reason, one rationale covers them all, and I’ve heard it a thousand times: Well, I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, do I?

Well, no. Of course not.

But it’s important.


Well, because when we participate in a community, we tend to adopt and act upon shared values. Our faith increases because we are around other people of faith.

Does recycling save the planet? I’m sorry, no, I don’t think it does. Is it a good habit, make me a better steward of what I have? Improve quality of life? Yes, most definitely.

Does going to church save me? Nope. I know it doesn’t. However, it’s a good habit, helps me become a better steward of what God has birthed in me, and drastically improves my quality of life. Hands down, it’s a valuable thing to do – which, incidentally, is why God asks that we do it. (Heb. 10:24-25)

I, of all people, know how difficult it is to find a church. Moving 11 times in 15 years – yea, I’ve done my share of searching – sometimes finding, sometimes not. But being a part of some fellowship of faith is crucial.

Where do you spend time? Who do you spend time with? What community holds your priorities? It makes a difference.

Here’s to surviving Black Friday, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Thanks for spending part of your Friday with me here on Dry Ground.

(photos by


Jay said...

Glad you and Daniel had a pleaseant Thanksgiving Day. I like soft rock, not rock 'n roll, which ours and other churches are heading toward to appease to the 18-35 generation. This is the agrument our current pastor uses when I complain about the volume. Call me a prude, but I hunger for at least ONE traditional worship song, before or after the message.