Purpose, Principle & Practice
(Greg Clark, 2001)
Purpose: God’s purpose for Reba Place Fellowship is to make disciples who follow Jesus (Matt. 28: 19-20).
Principle: The principle by which God accomplishes His purpose in Reba Place Fellowship is our shared life in Him, our “unity in love.”
Practice: Our practice of discipleship flows out of the interaction between our call to “unity in love” and the divided society in which we live. Our society is divided by Mars (war, hostility, resentment), Mammon (love of money, economic inequality), and Me (individualism, selfishness). Religion has often submitted to these forces of division. It preaches intellectual agreement and individual morality without social and economic justice. Or, it fights for social liberation out of hostility and resentment rather than from a love of God and neighbor. The practice of “unity in love” overcomes the forces of division around and among us.
Forgiveness defeats Mars. We can forgive harms done to us because Jesus’ resurrection assures us that life is fundamentally good and that love will conquer even death. The Christian life is ultimately a comedy, not a tragedy; the act of forgiveness is a statement about the ultimate nature of reality. In community we strive to live transparently, to refuse to gossip or nurse resentments, and to deal with sin appropriately (Matt. 18). We are constantly learning how to give and receive forgiveness, and in this way restore and maintain the unity of the body.
Feasting satisfies more than Mammon. Money is not happiness: we do not pursue it for its own sake; it is not the measure of our worth; it is not the measure of our faith. Those who seek the Kingdom of God first are the happiest. The symbol of the Kingdom of God is the feast, an extravagant celebration for which everything else will be happily exchanged. Our meals and celebrations anticipate the Messianic feast; our food is the symbol of our restored relationships which truly satisfy. We each live within walking distance of the others and refuse to resettle for a better-paying job. We share a common purse in which we all give what we have and we all receive what we need. To our feast, all are invited.
Family frees us from the individualism of Me. In the name of “freedom” and “individual choice” our culture has promoted social rootlessness and consumerism. But, it is an “iron cage of freedom.” We affirm the shared life as essential to both freedom and the good life. Together, we listen to the Lord to discern His will. Together we make major decisions. Together, we care for each person. We are united in love, not as a collection of individuals, nor as a collective, but as a family.