Pastor Jack Brown gave us a helpful message Sunday, on community and about the myth of the rugged individual. This is what has largely defined America, being a chief part of its identity. Among its icons: Davey Crockett, Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump, Arnold Schwartzenegger. But it is not to be so, among the followers and community of Jesus.
Genesis 2, in which God said that it was not good for the man to be alone. Then Acts 2, in which the early church lived as community. This community grounded in the Being of God as Trinity, in interrelational love. Something is inherent in humans, that makes solitary confinement one of the worst punishments a human can endure. Pictured in "Cast Away", in which Tom Hanks plays the castaway, who befriends and speaks to the volleyball, "Wilson".
I have to agree that this is perhaps the mythology that has most shaped and defined the United States. To be human, as revealed by God in Jesus Christ, involves living in union with God and communion with humans. To become a Christian means to become a member of the Body of Christ. So that it's not about "me and Jesus." But it's about fellowship together in the community of the Trinity. It's about "Jesus and us."
I recall a recent conversation I had with a believer over the issue of "affirmative action", which we're soon to be voting on, here in Michigan. He appealed, really, to this myth, I believe, in his own position on this divisive, and admittedly difficult political issue. His appeal was to the individual- Abraham Lincoln, who in spite of circumstances, was able to overcome. And there is truth here. But surely not the whole truth even in Lincoln's life. And even if it was, does that make such an individualistic experience right, or the best?
Each of us present, doing our part as a member of Christ and each other. Not independent, but in need of our brother and sister. We together in need of Christ. And together in the fellowship of the Triune God. This is really what it's all about.
Do you see this myth as a defining one, in the American saga or experience? How does the Story of God found in Scripture compare or contrast with this? What are your own thoughts?