Discussing
In defense of Christian bubbles

Robert Joustra

Shiao Chong
September 7, 2013

Good post Rob, but I do want to make sure that no one thinks that I am working from a "brand of coercive and stifling pluralism [that] hates bubbles", which you seem to imply from the way you frame your post.

Far from it. I am working from a deep-rooted love for the Christian community to ensure that it does not lose its missional edge, and therefore, harms itself in the long run.

I also think we are defining "bubbles" or "enclaves" slightly differently. We probably need to spend time to clarify the difference between enclave and community, which I did not do in my original post. As you say, it is unclear.

But, as starters, I hope you agree that even the greatest gifts/treasures that God give us can be turned into an idol. Thus, the great treasure of community that we cannot do without can also be distorted into a sacred cow. And it is this fear of distortion or degeneration of community that is at root of what I would call a ghetto/enclave/bubble, and behind my fears for the Troy experiment of faith-based dorms. But this is a potential distortion not a necessity, hence, I hope that Troy's experiment will avoid that. But it is a constant tension or fine line for communities to avoid that pitfall.

I do hope that you noticed how sympathetic I was to the "enclaves/bubbles" in my post. Personally, in real life, I am very much involved in what you called "bubbles". I am on the Board of the very fine institution that you teach at - Redeemer University College - which according to your post, will be considered a bubble/enclave, but in my mind, is a thriving community that orients itself towards the common good and God's mission. I have also been, and still, sending my children to Christian day schools for over 10 years, along with all the volunteer engagements that entails. And, of course, there is the church - both local and denominational - in which I have been actively serving.

So, just wanting to set the record straight on my part.

The value of your post, Rob, is how it highlights the importance of Christian community and what Christian community might look like - "journey in and journey out" - at its healthiest and best - which in my mind, should not be called a ghetto/enclave/bubble. Calling such Christian communities enclaves and bubbles, for me, will be doing them an injustice.

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