the simulacra of community: the gathering of individuals. where is community? What does it look like? too often our search for community ends in a cheap simulation, a simulacra, and the church is most complicit in this illusion. Churches aren’t called “Church” anymore; they’re called “communities” of Christ, faith, friendship, whatever you want. Yet rarely is community reached? Why? Because we reach for the ideal of community without its practices. It’s like trying to be spiritual without the spiritual disciplines.
our theraputic culture treats community as the merely as the place to repair/fix/reaffirm individuals (this is best seen in our bible studies and prayer groups). Statements like “I want a community that will let me be me…” continue the individualized/privatized nature of our culture. The self-help culture has clothed itself in the garb of Christian community to legitemate a shallow narcissism. The concrete practices of community- forgiveness, reconcilation, repentance, and sacrifice- are foriegn to our culture that tries to build community around the motto that “I’m OK and you’re OK.” They want a nice (simulated) community, but Christianity offers a messy (real) community.
So what does this have to say about those in the emerging church who perpetuate/multiply ad infinitum descrete subcultures in the name of relevant community? Is the emerging church a technologically advanced simulation of community? or the real deal? (see theopraxis and jason clark for more along these lines)