Tag Archives: Peter Block

Order vs. Structure

Recently I’ve given a lot of thought to the differences between “order” and “structure’.  Order identifies what comes before or after.  Structure refers to recognition, stability of patterns, and relationships of entities.  God creates and reveals both.

Have you noticed how people gather to discuss order (what comes before or after)?  Most gatherings hing on that context.  Ideas are tossed around and a plan/agenda is made.  Programs are born.

God has already ordered what comes before and after.  Perhaps if we focused first on the structure (the relationship) between God and each other our dialogue would change, our minds would be renewed, and we would realize transformation (Romans 12:2).  Community would replace fragmentation and we would create future instead of define future.  We would focus on generosity and hospitality instead of fixing problems.   

My hat’s off to Peter Block who has augmented the Bible with his intuitive book “Community:  The Structure of Belonging“.  In it Peter defines various ways of structuring experiences of belonging.   While Peter has provided various ways, the Bible gives us the way, the truth, and the life (Jesus).   Both books are an excellent read – enjoy them!

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More than Coffee

I had a cup of coffee yesterday with a friend.  We meet regularly to compare notes about our lives.  We learn from each other and encourage and egg each other on.  I value our friendship!

His blog sparked an inner reflection on “hospitality”.  He references James 2: 1-7.  Last week another friend challenged me to look at Jesus’ teachings and decide what it meant for me to show my love for God through “humility”.  Two different words (humility/hospitality) – or are they?  Can you show hospitality without showing humility?

Mother Teresa in her book A Simple Faith reminds us that the “Christian way has always been to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself”. She believed that at some point (either as the recipient or the giver of love) you experience any or all of 5 sufferings: physical, mental, emotional, financial, spiritual. While we segregate God does not. We are to love our neighbor (rich/poor) equally with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The actions that we take in demonstrating that love reveals our measure of equality.

While researching these words via the internet I stumbled on a church website in the UK that reflects on both humility and hospitality.  Great story telling!

Peter Block in his book Community: The Structure of Belonging acknowledges the importance of hospitality:  “welcome people personally at the door; restate why you are there; create connection between attendees through initial questions, welcome late arrivals, acknowledge early departures, break bread together.”

Luke 9 advices us:  “You become great by accepting not asserting”.  Show hospitality through humility – accepting not asserting.  Accepting others regardless of status; simply love them.

“May we learn true humility and practise true hospitality by God’s grace!”