Quotation of the Week

“It destroys the people in the big churches, because they are no longer dealing with community; they’re just part of a crowd.

In the vaunted small-group movement—which certainly has some good things going for it (probably earlier on, more than now)—people say, ‘Well, we take care of community by having small groups.’

Well, those aren’t communities—those are people you like. And, you know, a community has to have people you don’t like in it.”

From an interview with Eugene Peterson in Radix magazine


  1. It is a great interview! I don’t know which issue–my husband brought a photocopy of it home from work last week. I will try to find out, though, and post it once I do!

  2. ah, that made me laugh out loud. So true.

    It reminds me of an old saying in Alcoholics Anonymous: “If you like everyone you’ve met at AA, you aren’t going to enough meetings.”

  3. Erika,

    Thanks for checking about which issue it is. I think I want to order it. I checked out the magazine and it looks like a great magazine. I wish more of it were on-line. Thanks for you post.

  4. What a great saying, Gary! That is perspective-giving for those of us in the church, I think.

  5. He says that if they are not (made up of people we like) we just drop out. I am certain this is not always true. However, I can think of so many conversations I have had recently with people where, when I ask them if they are involved in a small group at their church, they give some answer about how “it just wasn’t right for them” or “they just didn’t connect”. I think that more often than not, we seek out small groups where we can spend time with people we enjoy, not groups where we are willing to face significant challenges in learning to deal with people who are very different.
    The President of my denomination once preached an incredible sermon where he talked about some current and very popular church-planting trends that commend pastors to build churches made up of those people with whom they would most like to go on a vacation with or enjoy some form of recreation. He had taken us to the gospel story of the rich man and Lazarus, the festering man who sat at the rich man’s gate, and he asked us: “Is there anyone who wants to play tennis with Lazarus?”
    I think that is some of what Peterson is getting at.

  6. Great quote from the wise Mr. Petersen. As much as a lot of the small group movement attracts me, this is precisely what scares me. I suspect that, left to my own devices, I’d surround myself with people who think enough like me to keep me comfortably numb.

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