This will be quick, but seeing the blog at the bottom yesterday, I had to post some comments I have been contemplating for quite a few years.
I have struggled with this for years, and a few years ago was shown how wrong I was in allowing an extreme example to allow for neglecting of meeting together as a Church body. "What if I am stranded on a desert island? I could not "go" to Church. So it is ok not to go to Church because you do not have to go to Church to be a Christian." Well then, I suppose doing just about anything involving other people would be impossible...but as much as we would like to see ourselves as islands that sometimes by necessity crash together, such is not the case in a Biblical perspective in a relationship with Christ.
I think of Derek Webb's song "The Church" with its last line referring to Christ speaking..."you can not care for me, with no regard for her, if you love me you will love the Church."
The Bible clearly tells us that those in Christ gather together...this can be very challenging stuff for some people.
Several verses on the topic:
A very good summary:
And a except from a brother's blog about evangelism and living life in isolation as we so often try to do:
Christian community is a vital part of Christian mission. Mission takes place as people see our love for one another. We all know that the gospel is communicated both through the words we say and the lives we live. What Jesus says is that it is the life we live together that counts... People need to encounter the church as a network of relationships rather than a meeting you attend or a place you enter. Mission must involve not only contact between unbelievers and individual Christians, but between unbelievers and the Christian community. We want to build relationships with unbelievers. But we also need to introduce people to the network of relationships that make up that believing community so they can see Christian community in action.
The life of the Christian community provokes a response. When Peter says, 'Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have,' he is not speaking to individuals but to churches (I Peter 3:15).
The church is the home in which God dwells by His Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). Its life is the life of the Spirit, and its community is the community of the Spirit. Let our relationships provoke questions. And do not worry if your church life is sometimes less perfect than it should be! We do not witness to good works, but to the grace of God. Our commitment to one another despite our differences and our grace toward one another's failures are more eloquent testimony to the grace of God than any pretense at perfection."
I am sure this will provoke some thoughts...I encourage you to post comments as long as they are in love for each other.