Ruth Haley Barton on Faith Radio
Community is a primary goal of most churches, but it’s not easily accomplished. Through the well-known story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, author and teacher Ruth Haley Barton gives us insight on how transforming community takes place. She joins us on this episode of Connecting Faith to discuss her book Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community, and help us learn to encounter Christ in transforming ways – on the road of real life.
Though we often speak of a desire for community, it’s clear that we don’t always know how to “do” community. Pastors repeatedly try to share their vision for it, but many of us have become disillusioned with the concept.
We go back to the heart of the term; community means coming together in unity. Christian community is about the presence of Christ. He must be present before transformation can be achieved. Then, there’s an additional element that must be in place before our community can become transformational. We need to be willing to be transformed.
Stepping back for a moment, what does it mean to walk together with Christ in a transformational way?
In light of the stranger who appeared to those travelers so long ago, how can we prepare ourselves to welcome the stranger in our own walk? Ruth says it’s a vital question because when we don’t welcome that individual, we can miss our encounter with Jesus. She suggests living each day with the perspective of, “Is this the stranger that is going to be Christ to me today?” These are people that God has put in our path.
All of us have had experiences that are rough & that leave us hurt in our spiritual journey – even Jesus, who was completely without fault, had to experience death and resurrection. Ruth believes that our flesh has to be stripped away in order to fully surrender to God.
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