Soc 101 & Planting the Seeds of Community

As a first-semester undergrad, I ended up in Principles of Sociology with a really intimidating, really tall, really loud professor. (Though he is now retired, I’ll refrain from naming him outright, and instead call him RP.) I didn’t know what Sociology was when I signed up for the class, but I knew pretty early on in the semester that (a) it would make by brain hurt, and (b) I would end up as a soc major. My roommate at the time, who also ended up a soc major, and I still reminisce about RP, especially how frightened we were of him but also just how much of an effect he had on our thinking.

On the very last day of class that first semester, RP told us straight up that if we wanted to make it as a Christian in today’s society, we better batten down the hatches and live in community. He didn’t give us a list of ways to accomplish that or explain what that might look like, but the simplicity of the message–and the conviction with which he said it–stuck with me for the last 10 years.

Ten years.

Sitting here typing this, I just asked J if he remembered what RP said on the last day of class, since J had RP that same semester but at a different time, and he said the same thing: “You won’t make it as a Christian apart from community.”

You won’t make it as a Christian apart from community.

…Stay tuned…

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5 comments on “Soc 101 & Planting the Seeds of Community

  1. Stephen says:

    I have decided that for me, I won’t survive as a Christian without community. I realized this after moving a few places and looking back, the only way I became a part of the local body of Christians was putting forth much effort to become a part of that community of Christians. That meant a lot more than just going to work and living in the community. It meant finding a vested interest in the lives of others around me.

    • elizabeth says:

      You’d think we were related or something…

      I agree. Community–real, genuine relationships that are beautiful and messy at the same time–doesn’t just happen (though long-term shared experience helps, like if you are able to practice stability and plant yourself in one town, neighborhood, even house for the long haul). Community does take work, or at least a bit of cultivation. And you’re someone who is good at it. Gracias, hermano.

  2. So true. And there’s no short cut to community. It takes time time time.

  3. @bibledude says:

    Amen! That’s also how I interpret what Jesus said about how the world would know us… by the love we have for one another. Isn’t that the definition of community?

    Great post!

  4. elizabeth says:

    Thanks, all. I appreciate the feedback! As you look around the site, you’ll notice that this is a topic that’s pretty important to me. Lots of us are thinking about these things these days though, aren’t we?

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