Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Body of Christ at Gordon College

I've been here at Gordon College for 5 weeks and 2 days - no, I promise I'm not counting intentionally. I've just got a running calendar in my brain. I'm adjusting very well, and I truly know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has placed me here at Gordon for such a time as this. 

A big thing on this campus is community, but I've discovered that no matter how much superficial community there may be, everyone is sort of isolated within themselves. My goal over the next few years is to begin to find a way to develop intimacy within the context of healthy, biblical community. 

On this campus, people pretend that they have it all together and the real issues are almost taboo to talk about, but I don't really care about that. I came into Gordon with the mentality of developing authentic relationships, and that requires being real and honest with people about where you're at…while still maintaining appropriate boundaries. I've found that as I've shared bits and pieces of my heart with people, they're able to open up and it breaks down the walls that are so common on this campus. I've seen that as I've been intentional about authenticity, it's beginning to spread at least throughout my dorm and with the transfers that I came in with. 

I've talked a lot about community in previous blogs, and I've been exploring the concept for quite some time, but it's taking on a new depth to me in this season. Living together with a roommate, 14 other girls on my floor, 96 [ish] people in my dorm, and 1500 students on campus really brings the issue of community to the forefront. How do we live cohesively as a unit in a way that is glorifying to God?

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Paul is talking about how we, as believers in Christ, all belong to one body. It gives the picture of a physical body saying that each part has a function and a purpose. One part of the body cannot perform the same tasks as another part. It simply was not created that way. As a result of this, if we lose the use of one part of the body, we do suffer a great loss. The other parts of the body eventually adapt to pick up some of the duties of the other part of the body, but it doesn't make the situation better. 

Verses 25-26 (MSG) say this:
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
If I take this and apply it to life at Gordon (which is applicable because we could be considered the Church with a capital C), I interpret it as saying that each student, each faculty member, each staff has something crucial to contribute to the community at Gordon. To live in intimate, biblical, Christ-centered community, it is evident that we have to recognize the fact that we are all individuals with unique things that we are able to bring to the table, yet find a way to appreciate that and not say that since we're all so different, we should just stay within our little cliques or friend groups. 

One of my desires for Gordon College as a whole is that we open our eyes and our arms to the people who surround us on a daily basis and welcome them into our lives. I've talked to countless people in the past 5 weeks who feel so isolated and lonely because no one has taken the time to step back and invite them in. These people who live on the fringes of the Gordon bubble have much to contribute - their voice matters just as much as the rest of us - and we should live in a way that amplifies each other's voices and encourages the strengths of others. 

Practically, I think that the first step to achieving a goal as broad as this would be to step out of your comfort zone and talk to someone who seems to be completely different than someone you would normally associate yourself with. There are so many different types of people here, and we learn valuable lessons by interacting with those who are not the same as us. Have a conversation. Sit with a different group of people at dinner. 

If the people reading this take only one thing away, let it be this:

Live intentionally. Seek out new relationships. Embrace the uncomfortable, for that is where the transformation takes place. 

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