Again, Christ and his kingdom have to stay in the center. If relationships become more important than Jesus, things go way off. We become self-absorbed, problems grow out of proportion, and we lose sight of God's will. Also, if the practical matters become too important, the joy gets lost. So find ways to serve others beyond your own circle. Ultimately, that is why we live in community—because Christ's love is meant to be shared.
7. Doesn't the emphasis upon community eclipse other important matters, like the Great Commission or social justice?
The Great Commission instructs us to make disciples, teaching everything Jesus commanded. It is only within the visible Body of Christ, the church fellowship, that new believers can learn to love, submit, serve, and give to one another. It's also the place where God's justice can be most visibly demonstrated. In Christ, there are no longer rich and poor, slave and free. We have a new set of relationships and practices; materialism is overcome and we treat each other as brothers and sisters. That is the best way to further God's social justice in the world.
8. You've designed the book with 52 chapters for a year's worth of weekly discussion. How do you imagine this book affecting a group that commits to reading it together?
This book is for groups that are serious about living out their faith more completely together. Of course there are wonderful, stimulating chapters that can be read on their own. But if you read the whole thing slowly and thoughtfully, one chapter a week, I guarantee it will facilitate the kind of conversation that welds hearts and lives together. For those who are already part of a community, this book can inspire a more radical love and commitment to one another. I believe any group, big or small, that commits itself to discussing this book will be left hungering for a more complete life together in Christ.