Bound Together

Posted: July 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

boundbookAs North Americans we tend to be very individualistic in our thinking. It is all about me and my needs and my personal freedom and my own pursuit of happiness. And yet, even as this article from the cultural magazine The Atlantic reminds us, while “many on the right correctly emphasize individual liberty, they do not emphasize what conservatism knows to be true: It is in community that people learn how to be free.”

You see in saving us, God not only forgives and heals us individually but He also calls us into community. As the body of Christ, we are to spend our lives living out the one another commands, building one another up, encouraging, admonishing, etc. This is because we are, as Chris Brauns explains so well in his most recent book, bound together.

Our future and our place in this world aren’t simply the sum of our own individual choices. On varying levels, we are roped together with others. When someone we are roped to is lifted up, we are lifted up with them. When he or she jumps off a figurative cliff, we are pulled down with them. This is what I call “the principle of the rope”—the simple truth that our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and actions of other people. To put it simply, as I have done in the title of this book, we are “bound together,” tied to others in our good and bad choices. (25)

In his review of the book, Tim Challies offers the following summary…

Christian Community The truest and highest joys are found not in selfishness, but in selfless investment in Christ-centered community. If you want to pursue joy—and God’s desire for you is that you would pursue joy—you will need to pursue it by investing in others.

Marriage The principle of the rope illustrates both the beauty of marriage and the devastation of divorce which represents the destruction of a tie meant to last to death.

Family Families experience the “bound together” nature of relationships in a unique way in both joys and trials. Brauns focuses specifically and pastorally on families that have been grieved by a family member who has turned his back on the people who love him.

Death Christians can face death without fear because of their solidarity with the One who has already conquered death’s power.

The Local Church Brauns insists that the local church is uniquely qualified to counter the radical individualism that is unraveling the very fabric of Western culture. The church offers both the theology and the structure that reinforces the values that are necessary to hold a society together. It is, after all, God’s plan a (and plan b) to reach a lost and dying world.

For further insight into this theme of biblical community, I’d also highly recommend watching this talk by Andrew Wilson

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – 1 John 4:19-21 (ESV)

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