PSPC Fall Retreat 2005

February 6, 2006

The Way of Our Flesh

The Gospel is addressed not only to individuals, but also to the communities to which these individuals belong, because these individuals are what they are largely because of their life in their communities. Communities have a corporate identity. They can think and act together. If you take an individual right out of his community he becomes a different person.

Lesslie Newbigin, British missionary to India

In 1970 or thereabouts, Newbigin was invited to join a group of clergy in the Church of South India, and teach them from the Scriptures before the serving of Communion at their monthly worship services.  These talks were collected into a book, The Good Shepherd (Oxford: Mowbray, 1977), where I read the comment quoted above.  As it happens, Newbigin was talking about the Christian mission to industry in the city of Madras, but his words would have been equally at home in the middle of Park Slope Presbyterian’s first retreat.  This past fall, a few dozen of us gathered to sing songs, eat and drink, taste wines and pick apples, in the hope that God would be molding PSPC’s corporate identity as we thought and acted together. Read the rest of this entry »