The God Who Is Relationship
A Book Review of “The Community Life of God: Seeing the Godhead As the Model for All Relationships” by Milt Rodriguez
In The Community Life of God, Milt Rodriguez weaves together the story of God’s desire to plant himself in His people. God’s image is a “communal” image. The Lord created man in His image of community. And taking from the Tree of Life (i.e. Christ) is to take from the relational God.
It was in the Garden of Eden that the serpent sought to keep God’s image from becoming a reality in the hearts of men. The enemy of God presented man with individual living out of his own soul-life (i.e. will, emotions, intellect). Instead of man pursuing spiritual living after taking from the communal life of God, he experiences separation from God and other men.
Rodriguez proposes that much of Christian activity today is spent furthering the individualistic mindset that is so popular in our culture. Even when believers come together corporately there is not an understanding of God’s image among us. Church life ought to be more than socializing and individual Christian ministries.
Milt writes, “Personhood and identity can only be defined by relating to others. You will never truly “find yourself” until you are living in the community life of God” (p.62)
What is the sort of fellowship the Lord desires among his ekklesia?
“This fellowship is the place where there is nothing to hide. Complete truthfulness and complete honesty rule here. The Father, Son, and Spirit do not hold back anything from one another… there is no fear of loss” (p. 116).
As Christian Smith has written, “Community means more than having lots of meetings. It means jointly building a way of life, a group memory, and a common anticipated future.” (Going to the Root: Nine Proposals for Radical Church Renewal, p.2)
In order for us to experience the community life of God, we must embrace the cross. Rodriguez says there “will be one brother or sister who rubs you the wrong way.” It is there we embrace the cross and learn “they are part of the same body as you. You belong to them and they belong to you” (p.152).
Finally, this community life of God cannot work in meeting once a week. We all know this to be true, but still we place other things before God’s heart. We sacrifice the church on the altar of family, jobs, and personal ministries.
Milt says, “He (God) wants you and me and every other believer to be actively involved on a daily basis. This is why we were born. This is why we live on this planet” (p.170).
Brothers and sisters, if we are going to participate in God’s eternal purpose, we must be intentional about our relationships within the local ekklesia of Christ. We must give and receive sacrificially in order that we might know the God who is within Himself, relationship.
There have been many books written on the church being rooted in the Triune image of God, but this one delivers in a simple and easy-to-read presentation. I recommend this book to all of those who are longing to discover that the church is born out of the very heart of the relational God.
What others are saying?
“This little book provides a clear window into the ultimate source of authentic body life. Delve into its pages and meet the God who is beyond what most of us have imagined, the God in whose collective voice all genuine churches echo.” –Frank Viola, author of Pagan Christianity, From Eternity to Here, and Finding Organic Church, www.frankviola.com
“I was deeply blessed, refreshed and challenged by this book. The author casts the spotlight on the reality and wonder that “God” is really the community life of three persons – a fact virtually untouched in traditional theology. Milt shows from various angles how the community life of God is the foundation of our organic ekklesia life together in Christ.”–Jon Zens, Editor, Searching Together; author of A Church Building Every ½ Mile and “What’s With Paul & Women? www.searchingtogether.org
Milt Rodriguez has been living in and planting organic expressions of church since 1990. He has also authored several books including The Butterfly in You and The Temple Within. He currently lives with his wife Mary in Gainesville, Flordia. He is a dear brother in the Lord and I am happy to call him my friend.