The place of community in the Christian life seems increasingly complicated for those of us living in the West. We don’t seem to really get it. Some seem to live as though they can do life as “just me and Jesus;” that our actions impact no one but ourselves and community is a nice-to-have, rather than an essential.
Chris Brauns wants to change that. In Bound Together, he shows us how all we are inextricably connected to one another (whether we like it or not) and all that entails for good and bad.
Brauns’ demonstrates this using what he calls the principle of the rope—”the simple truth that our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices and actions of other people” (25). Understanding this principle is central, he argues, to truly grasping not only the Christian faith, but all of human history.
Think about all the different ways we’re affected by the decisions of others. You can probably come up with a list of ten things before you finish reading this, whether significant or fairly innocuous. That’s the principle of the rope in practice.
Scripturally we see this most explicitly shown in two places: The fall of man and redemption in Christ.
If we weren’t tied to Adam—if we were fully autonomous—then we would not be under his curse. We would be as free to sin or not sin as he was. And yet our experience clearly demonstrates this isn’t the case. Instead, we see that we are equally as sinful as Adam; that we choose to sin because of who we are; when Adam fell, he pulled us down with him. [Read more...]