Ongoing conversion happens only in community life. We can’t do it for ourselves. I had a college chaplain who was very fond of saying “There are no solo Christians,” and he was absolutely right. Everyone finds their community – or their overlapping communities – that leads to their conversion.

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Community can offer a container that’s safe enough and supportive enough for the conversion process to take place. You have a group of people saying, “You can be who you are, we’ll support that, even if it’s painful, even if it’s uncomfortable.” That allowance helps us confront our own wounds. It helps other people – and ourselves – heal.

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There’s a portion of our Rule of Life that’s been very helpful to me in living in community. It talks about silence as a gift that allows us to recognize and revere the mystery of every person. Each person is a mystery to us, and there are aspects of that person’s life that we will never know, no matter how well we know them. Only God alone can know this person as they truly are. This is a way to open our hearts to greater compassion.

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We don’t do church alone because God isn’t alone. God is community and invites us into community. God chose a family to bless and save the whole world through Abraham. No one person could do it alone. The Christian story, and all of the stories of scripture, are about a people. Our story is one of families and of communities.

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The very nature of the Triune God is community. The Father, Son and Spirit are One in reciprocal self-giving and love. Because human beings are made in the image of a relational God, humans are not meant to be separate and isolated from one another. Rather, we are called to live together in shared community.

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