I’ve noticed that one of the aspects of American spirituality is our rugged independence. This sense of independence must have been in-bred in Americans since the revolutionary days in our stubborn resistance to be a colony and to belong to anything other than ourselves. That kind of attitude seems to have crept in, down through the centuries to so many people today. We want to do everything–ourselves. Even Jesus.
This do-it- yourself attitude means that even though so many of us are well versed in the idea and notion of community, we will simply not engage in the values of community when it comes to Jesus. We will drop out of our a small group–ourselves–without asking. We will try to grow spiritually–ourselves without asking for the help of others who are wise, more mature.
We will even try to change–transform ourselves. We will not ask for help. We don’t think we need it. We can do it ourselves or else, well–forget about changing. Do-it-yourself spirituality also creeps into our thinking about church. Perhaps this is way more people are leaving the church than going to church. 80% of all American churches are declining. We can “do” Jesus alone. Many of think that we can heal–alone. Grow–alone. Do most anything alone.
The problem is, we can’t “do” Jesus alone. It takes the “two or three” that Jesus spoke about. He’s present most assuredly in community. Yes, he’s present when we’re alone but his abiding promise of “togetherness” is when we meet, face to face in community. I need you. You need me. And when we meet Jesus shows up.
If we are going to change, we need each other. That’s the bottom line.
Up at our retreat, we have a bench called, “Companionship.” This particular bench rests in a native grove of Aspen Trees. No Aspen stands alone. They always grow in community. That’s the place our souls need to be–in a grove of other Aspen like people to grow, thrive and transform.