Jesus encouraged us to unshoulder our burdens and share them with Him (cf. Matthew 11:28); the Apostle Paul tells us to share our burdens with each other (cf. Galatians 6:2). And we are to use our resources to care for our Christian brothers and sisters. Nevertheless, we maintain a ‘great divide’ between congregation and clergy and each other relationally—indeed, a gap too wide to facilitate the transfer of our burdens to others or Christ. So they collect and weigh us down until we become the picture of spiritual unhealthiness and a questionable witness.
Meanwhile, individualism prohibits deep interpersonal relationships necessary for discipleship, accountability, or the discovery of needs. How do we narrow the gap and once again participate instead of dictating or isolating—through true community, not as a collective of individuals.
Scott Boren, the author of The Relational Way, points out that many sociologists have dubbed the United States as the most individualized society in human history. And statistics and trends show that the church congregations resemble the world. Therefore, churches tend to be made up of individuals who just happen to congregate simultaneously for the same religious experiences. Let’s have a bit of fun and look at something that looks more like we should: The Borg.
If you’re a Star Trek fan, you’ll likely know of the Borg – that single entity comprising many individuals functioning as that single consciousness; they exist to participate relationally for the betterment of the ‘one.’ Here are some helpful snippets from the Star Trek database (http://www.startrek.com/database_article/borg):
The Borg have a singular goal … This collective consciousness is experienced by the Borg as “thousands” of voices — they are collectively aware, but not aware of themselves as separate individuals. … Among the many advantages their collective consciousness affords them, the Borg hive-mind allows for instantaneous adaptations … with the power of their collective thoughts alone. … The hive-mind drones do not register as individual life-signs when scanned, only as a mass reading …
OK, so the Borg is fictional, and the Church isn’t. However, we could learn a profound lesson from the Borg concept: Participate to serve, not just experience; Grow to help, not for self-gain. Commune, not isolate, for godly love and discipleship.
In summary, God has equipped each of us to partner with others in His ministry of reconciliation. Rather than assemble as self-centered individuals with a shared desire to experience religion, let’s become more relational and community-minded to build trust for service and discipleship. Then, we can genuinely resemble the Borg … well, without all the tubes and stuff!
Next week, we’ll explore sin and the light that brings it out of the dark in my article Would Someone Please Turn on the Lights??
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley