Well, being in Atlanta is interesting. I asked a guy where the REGAL 24 movie theatre was located and he said he didn’t have a clue. It was only 2 exits up, probably less than 2 miles. In the city one tends to know their immediate surroundings and that’s it. Sounds like a lot of our churches, whether they’re struggling or not. Many of the churches that I know are inbred and have a DNA imprint that doesn’t allow for outreach or acceptance of new people or ideas, and then they wonder why they’re not growing.
Community is how we define it. As I have been pondering theology in teaching these two classes at Emory, I am struck, by both our ecclesiology and polity, that community is a big deal to United Methodist theology and ethos. From my understanding of Wesley, we as human beings primarily reflect the image of God in a social sense. Wesley leaned toward an Eastern Orthodox understanding of the Trinity as perichoresis. What a great word in describing the Trinity. Peri means “around” and choresis is where we get our english word for “dancing.” The Trinity is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a perpetual dance meeting us at our every point of need. If we are made in the image of this community-oriented awesome Three-One God, then we must hold hands in our living out personal piety and SOCIAL holiness.
We need to know, not just our little corner of Atlanta or rural South Carolina. We are interconnected with the whole world if we are to be truly human made in God’s image. I pray that my relationships express this wonderful give-and-take of being intentionally in relationship with society, with two-leggeds and all of God’s creation. We are in this thing together – Connectionalism is who we are whether we’re giving directions to the REGAL 24 or to Jesus.