17 Best Quotes from Kelly Bean’s Book – How to be a Christian Without Going to Church: The Unofficial Guide to Alternative Forms of Christian Community

by Mark Votava

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1. The church is a people to be

“We often use the language about church in a way that conditions our thinking – church becomes a place to go, something to attend, an event to plan, a program to consume or critique, or a ministry identified by the personality of the pastor when, in fact, the church is a people to be.  Although most people understand church is much more than a place, event, ministry, or dynamic leader, those ways of thinking hold a great deal of power.  They influence us more than we may realize.”

2. The need to live in ways that are local and sustainable

“People have an increased awareness of the need to live in ways that are local and sustainable…  The times really are changing, and whether or not she is ready, this is a point of change for the church.”

3. Being the church and remaining true to the call of Christ

“The great news is that it is possible to be a Christian and not go to church but by being the church remain true to the call of Christ…”

4. Communal action and renewal

“A desire for communal action and renewal is rising…”

5. Longing for Experience, Participation, Images and Connection

“The Wild Goose is present in the longing for Experience that is real and honest, in hands-on Participation rather than observation, in visible, concrete Images of the living gospel, and in ordinary, authentic, relational Connection between human beings…”

6. Lived communal examples

“Whether it starts with finding a connection to God in the sunset, taking notice of the ordinary miracles of each day, making a way forward with new, growing communities of connection, or joining together for actions that bring transformation to neighborhoods and streets, something is going on…  More than ever, the world needs to see lived communal examples of what it means to be Christian…”

7. Charting a new course does mean there will be uncertainty

“It comforts me to remember this: when the first Jesus followers threw down their nets, they had no idea what they were getting into.  When the Protestant Reformers parted ways with the Catholic Church, they didn’t have new forms in place to replace the structures that had shaped their way of life.  When Francis of Assisi flung his father’s fortunes in the street and set out to form a new community of faith, he had no idea what would be born.  Charting a new course does mean there will be uncertainty.”

8. Taking the time to behold those we encounter

“By simply taking the time to behold those we encounter throughout our day, we can pass on the peace of Christ…”

9. Small gifts of time and attention

“Small gifts of time and attention can change a day.  We all know it.  In this culture, time and attention are two of the most valuable gifts to give…”

10. Hospitality can make a difference

“When we share what we have – whatever that may be – hospitality can make a difference.”

11. Relational expressions of community

“Relational expressions of community can be healing and life-giving to us and to others…”

12. Open myself to learn and receive from you

“When others are willing to be present to us, it does make a difference.  When we are willing to truly be present to others, it changes us.  It is also true that when we establish a real friendship and know someone – what their life and world are really like – our motivation for giving and sharing changes.  I no longer give to feel good, to change you, or to try to fix a problem.  I give because I know you and love you.  I give with an understanding of your situation and a willingness to learn from you.  I give with a better sense of your real need rather than my own idea of what I think is needed.  I open myself to learn and receive from you, too, and I become your advocate and storyteller wherever I go.  That sort of gift is empowering and transformative all the way around.”

13. Working through our pain

“…working through our pain and choosing to gain new tools for dealing with conflict and engaging with communication brings benefit to not only ourselves but to all our relationships…”

14. The possibility of forming authentic relationships

“Getting in touch with our own pain and becoming aware of our own brokenness is not an easy path, but it’s one that leads to our own transformation as well as the possibility of forming authentic relationships.  No matter how many good intentions we have, if we are not becoming more self-aware and taking active measures to continue toward growth and healing, our work and our relationships can only go so far…”

15. Start with our own neighborhood

“The fact is that we need to start with our own neighborhood, our own zip code, to work toward making a better society and world.”

16. Loving our neighborhood

“When we stop to listen and learn from our neighbors and neighborhood, the need of the neighborhood itself can inform our action…  Loving our neighborhood can be expressed in so many particular ways…”

17. Becoming communities that bear light together

“May we all keep growing, continue learning, and become communities that bear light together, even in our brokenness.  And as you go forward wherever you find yourself, remember, you are not alone – others are on similar paths.  This is hard work.  It’s okay to find closure.  It’s okay to make mistakes.  It’s okay to start simply.”

Are churches that do not cultivate community really God’s dream for the body of Christ?