It is well known that individualism and consumerism are so pervasive that they have become the spectacles through which we view and understand our lives, including our spirituality. Sadly we keep these glasses on as we read our Bibles, and in the process we allow our reading to reinforce our individualism. Many readers and expositors of the Bible take verses without due concern for their context. In the process, verses that were originally intended to be understood within a community setting are made to mean something different from what their authors intended. One of the most serious consequences is that passages which refer to our community life are made to reinforce our individualism. This is not handling the 'Word of Truth' correctly. In 'We Not Me' Andy Matheson argues that we need to embrace the perspective of 'the God who sees'. His vision is relational; he sees with communal lenses. Community is so core to God's nature and purposes that it undergirds everything that is implicitly inferred or explicitly stated on every page of the Bible. If we can rediscover what it means to be a community - the kind of community where all barriers are broken down and where our lives reflect the original vision of the gospel - then we play a much more effective part in ushering in God's Kingdom.
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