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“Churches are agenciences for the mutual reinforcement of meaningful interpretations. “ Peter Berger, pg. 64, Invitation to Sociology

This short statement by Peter Berger sparked reflection, critique, and imagination in my thoughts this morning. It brought me to REFLECT upon the value and meaning of the church as a community in each of our lives. The very necessity of us being ingrafted into it socially, relationally, and personally so that our own struggles to maintain and explore our identity may have a harbor of safety in the turbulent seas of today’s post-Christian sentiments.

It brought me to CRITIQUE the less than complete take Berger had on Churches as agencies of mutual reinforcement. He stops short by pointing at the reality of the church as a community being and doing this; but I want to suggest that it is only because we are a community in Christ being and doing this that generates meaningful interpretations.

As a sociologist Berger is a keen observer of the effects community plays on us as individuals. Certainly community, all communities, are agencies for the mutual reinforcement of interpretations. But it is the Church as a community in Christ that gives her interpretations such peculiar and distinct – one could and should say even saving – interpretations of the world, community, self, and God.

Lastly, it brought me to IMAGINE what it is like for so many outsider who walk inside our communities and see the way we live life many times in unobserved, unquestioned assumption. The absence of questions or doubts we allow to surface in our conversations and friendships or public preaching. The easy believism we peddle and purchase, with monetary refuse. I imagined how hard it would be to believe that this community had something, someONE meaningful at the Center of her. After all if her people live without doubt or exploration or mystery, how could their Center makes sense of the outsiders world. I wondered what he or she felt when he or she opened up their heart and mouth and said, “I doubt…I question…I don’t know…

Can the Church be a place of mutual reinforcement for the average de-churched Pomo person today? Of course She is not called to only be a place or vehicle of mutual reinforcement, she is also called to be a counter-intuitive subversion of the world’s story of identity, security, and hope. But where is mystery, doubt, exploration, etc.; found in her confident yet assuming masses today?