Yesterday I posted some thoughts on community. Is it possible to have a virtual community? And if it is, can you take a community that exists only in words and pictures and move with it? Can you bring it into three dimensions? And if it’s possible, what would you do with it?
One online community that has been a blessing in my life is The High Calling Blogs. For those of you who’ve never been there, HCB is a community of Christian bloggers who support each other in areas like writing, faith, parenting, and social networking. If you’re a Christian Blogger, consider joining! And if you just like to read great writing on the topic, head over and bookmark the site. They highlight a wonderful variety of posts and there is always food for thought to be found there!
The HCB community has recently come up with a great idea…an idea which moves online community into real action. The idea is to raise money and goods for charity through an unusual but exciting way….a Card Party! You’re probably thinking: What on earth does a card party have to do with real community, or with charity? Here’s the lowdown. In a nutshell, this community is encouraging its members to collect those gift cards that are lying around the house. Cards with a few dollars left on them, maybe cards for places you don’t usually go or maybe cards that have just a little left on them but not enough for, say, a Carmel Mocha Frappachino at Starbucks. The idea is to collect the cards, send them in, and they will be donated to an organization that uses them to purchase goods for people in need. One Wal-Mart card with $2.18 left on it won’t buy you much, but a hundred cards with that much would provide diapers for a lot of babies! I think it’s a wonderful idea.
I’ll be posting my “Card Party” post later in the week, but I wanted to mention it today…first to get people thinking about it, but also because it is a wonderful example of how virtual community can rally around and make real change happen.
I love the idea of a community becoming the Hands and Feet of God. We are asked by Jesus to abide in his love (John 15:9), and I think one of the best ways to do this is by becoming living, acting members of his body. I think of the members of my imaginary “real life” community….the quiet mowers of the widow’s lawn, the bearers of funeral casseroles, the creator of the lemon pound cake that appears at ever community celebration. When there’s a need, the community moves as one body…each doing it’s own part…to fill that need. 1 Corinthians 12:14 is a wonderful example of how that works in us, as the body of Christ:
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The community of Christ, taking action as His hands and feet (and eyes, and ears, and mouth…) here on earth! In the same sense, I think a virtual community can become incarnate when its members act together for the greater good. And in the process, the community itself benefits from a new level of closeness and understanding that is always the product of people putting their hearts and minds together to work together for the greater good!
So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Roman’s 12:5