Belonging before Believing

“Belonging before believing”

Words that struck me with a particular force as they were spoken by Stuart Murray a few months ago.

It is a significant statement.  “Belonging before believing” is to suggest that in our post Christendom and post modern context our sharing of faith, our evangelism/mission, is not immediately dependant upon ‘acceptance of Jesus.’  Rather it is a call to belong, belief or not, with a community of people who participate in redemption with a Trinitarian God.

More significantly, it puts community at the center of mission.

It means that our hospitality, acceptance and recognizing the humanity in everyone is just as important as whether or not the people who join in community believe in Jesus.

People are longing for a place to belong.  As friend Gareth Brandt (he has a great blog, you should check it out) said in a recent conversation “That is the gospel, Jesus saying ‘you belong with me.’”


A few years ago, Linkin Park came out with a song that speaks to the longing to belong.  It is a song that ended up resonating with many youth an young adults.  I have included the video, and the lyrics below.  The lyrics are an important cultural indicator of our current place in history.

(HT to Gareth Brandt for reminding me of this song…)

“Somewhere I Belong”

(When this began)
I had nothing to say
And I get lost in the nothingness inside of me
(I was confused)
And I let it all out to find
That I’m not the only person with these things in mind
(Inside of me)
But all that they can see the words revealed
Is the only real thing that I’ve got left to feel
(Nothing to lose)
Just stuck, hollow and alone
And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own
I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I’ve felt so long
(Erase all the pain till it’s gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m close to something real
I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong
And I’ve got nothing to say
I can’t believe I didn’t fall right down on my face
(I was confused)
Looking everywhere only to find
That it’s not the way I had imagined it all in my mind
(So what am I)
What do I have but negativity
’Cause I can’t justify the way, everyone is looking at me
(Nothing to lose)
Nothing to gain, hollow and alone
And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own
[Repeat Chorus]
I will never know myself until I do this on my own
And I will never feel anything else, until my wounds are healed
I will never be anything till I break away from me
I will break away, I’ll find myself today
[Repeat Chorus]
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m somewhere I belong
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m somewhere I belong
Somewhere I belong

How about you?  Do have a sense of belonging in community?  What communal actions are important for hospitality?

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