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September 24, 2010

If you like this video, why not share it with friends. Better still, arrange a time to chat it through (see more at www.conspiracyoffreedom.org).

And if you just want to think it through…

Community is a buzz word right now. We probably talk about it so much to cover up the fact that we’ve lost it. In the UK for instance, we have 7 million more houses than 40 years ago, and more of us than ever are living alone in them. We commute more – though we know this has an environmental cost. And we know our neighbours less.

What used to be regular occurences in our neighbourhoods – lively community associations, street parties, local lending – have become rare. We may not even know many of our neighbours names. Maybe this makes life quieter. Maybe this gives us the private life we’ve always dreamed of. But maybe it also comes at a cost. The Dalai Lama’s quote is fair: “It is fascinating. In the West, you can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don’t cross the road to meet your neighbours.”

It’s not as if we don’t care about our houses though. What can fairly be called ‘house porn’ is broadcast regularly on the screens we stay indoors to watch. Many of us obsess about having a ‘nice’ place to live, or the promise of a desirable postcode.

Somewhere along the way, Jesus’ teaching about loving our neighbours became so spiritualized that we forgot to actually get to know the people on our street. There’s nothing romantic about doing this – it’s a costly, time-consuming business without a guarantee of success. But Jesus’ teaching has to begin at home. We’re called to seek the peace of the communities we live in (Jeremiah 29:7), and to find God’s purpose in the place we’ve been put.

We could make a start by asking what it means to be good news to our neighbours. But this could also lead us to some deeper questions about local issues. Maybe the place we live has obvious problems that are calling out for the savour of the kingdom. Or maybe we need to find ways out of our comfort zone to the places of pain and need where God’s love can be shown.

More videos, and discussion resources, at www.conspiracyoffreedom.org.

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