I recently read an interesting book by Philip D. Kenneson: Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Christian Community (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999).
Here is an excerpt:
This [the church as a body] is only one important lesson that reflecting on the metaphor of the church as the body of Christ might teach us. Given the rampant individualism that pervades much congregational life, the contemporary church in this country would do well to reflect seriously on this metaphor. For example:
- Bodies are wrongly understood if their parts are considered to be in some way more fundamental than the body itself. The parts exist to serve the well-being of the entire body, a well-being in which each part participates and facilitates to the extent that it looks beyond its own immediate welfare.
- Bodies are wrongly understood if they are regarded as conglomerates of parts that have their own integrity apart from the body. No one would mistake a severed finger on the sidewalk for a body. Such a condition is not only a problem for the part but a problem for the entire body.
- Bodies are wrongly understood if their parts are considered to have unmediated access to
the head. Each body part facilitates and participates in vital connections to the head, yet none can sustain this connection to the head alone.
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