“I was talking with someone on Friday and the topic turned toward the importance of community. Our context was a discussion about the reading of scripture,…” ~ The Margins
First, let me say that I attend a conventional ‘church’. Just keep that in mind.
You say: “In our age of church-less Jesus-followers”
I think this statement in it self is a true indication of a lack of understanding of some of the real issues that are currently being worked out in our time. Your statement should better read “In our age of institutional-church-less Jesus-followers”.
Remember, I am an institutional-church attender and I am in a lay leadership position of said ‘church’. That being said, I do not get fellowship with my church in the context of the church programs or church fellowships.
I do have real christian fellowship with both other attenders as well as others that are not from our institution [both believers from other churches and some that have left institutions altogether.] It is this fellowship that I believe – “do not forsake the assembling together” really talks about. After all, the assembling together that occurs at institutional churches tend to produce superficial fellowship that is driven by the agenda of programs and institutional needs.
I often feel on the verge of “separating from others”, however in my case, and I believe that this is the case more often than not, I feel the need to ‘separating towards another others’.
I fully believe with you and your prof that “Paul wrote those letters to communities of faith”. I just believe that the communities of faith that Paul wrote to did not look like or have the institutional baggage that the communities of faith alluded to have.
As a matter of fact, there is no reason that one expression of a community of faith could not be manifest on the blogosphere.
Anyway, this has been a comment from one whose walk with God leading him away from emphasis and the importance of [the institutional church].