In his recent book The Jesus Way, the unfailingly helpful Eugene Peterson observes: “Community is intricate and complex. Living in community as a people of God is inherently messy. A congregation consists of many people of various moods, ideas, needs, experiences. . . . It is not easy and it is not simple.”
I thought about that as I continued to ponder Anthony Robinson’s comments in the January 29 issue on the phenomenon of the megachurch. In the course of his article, Robinson cited Stephen Ellingson’s worry (in The Megachurch and the Mainline) that megachurches, in their readiness to abandon traditional ties for the sake of addressing contemporary needs, are not “communities of memory” in the way that most congregations have been. Being a community of memory means being a living part of a large and old tradition, one that extends well beyond the interests of current members.