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Our upcoming album, The Shelter (Oct. 5), was deeply inspired by an old Irish proverb that says, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” Both physical and spiritual community are ideas that are a part of every song on this project. We would love to hear your stories of community: What does it mean to you? What is your community story? How are you living in community? 

Reader Comments (16)

Do you guys know when it's coming to Brazil? The album and the tour? We need you guys here!

Pedro Medeiros

August 19, 2010 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterpedro.medeirosvieira@gmail.com

Will there be any pre-order packages offered? thx.

August 19, 2010 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJPG

I believe our English word “community” is very similar to our word for “love”, in that it encompasses several different concepts which could be separate words themselves. Community can be an adjective, or a noun, or a lofty ideal, or a bloody practice, or a living organism.

My experience with community has been that it is entirely about everyone else, and also entirely about me (which may sound like a paradox, but is entirely true). For instance, cultivating community and investing in other people is a personal choice, a lifestyle… something which can practiced practically anywhere. Sometimes “community” is my choice to take responsibility for the people around me, and only I can make that decision each day regardless of where I am or who my neighbors are; and on other days, in turn, I’m only sustained by the decisions of the people around me (and “community” then becomes my ability to receive love as well as give it).

So it becomes the discipline (and the miracle (and sometimes the drudgery)) of both giving and receiving love whether or not any of us have earned it. Which I guess, in turn, makes community entirely about grace.

August 19, 2010 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I found a church in my darkest hour that as best as I've seen is the embodiment of community, Ethnos Church in Beaverton, Oregon. My life has been enriched, and I've been challenged like never before to BE the church, not go TO church. Together we have actively pursued connection with the community around us through various acts of service. Though our church community is dwindling in numbers, and our future uncertain, all the lives that have touched this community will be changed forever.

We are about to embark on a "walkabout", where we as remaining family go and visit a number of churches in the area, to find either 1) find a similar spirited body that we can join with, or 2) get enough inspiration to start afresh with new vision ourselves. Looking forward to it. It seems already that it is a great opportunity to invite people to, especially those who have previously been away from community.

August 19, 2010 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Steller

I can't wait! Hey, do you'll have any sheet music? I would love to play it.

August 19, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

God is showing me a great community in my life that is global. As I have been getting ready to move to Africa for mission work and to work through art with children I have been amazed by the people who have come around me. Even people I have never met but heard of my ministry through family and friends. I am so blessed by the people God gave me.

August 20, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterkathatine

This is a very cool song. Looking forward to the album!

August 20, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterNate

Thank you for filling my Friday with great music. Jars of Clay created community by sharing freely the superlative gift of art; music & poetry. The words bring life to me and others, reminding that through connecting with each other and with God, a shelter, a haven is created. My abode is @work this morning, singing along in this sweet spot.

August 20, 2010 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarb Ezell

Thanks for streaming this, guys! Someone was listening to a little Arcade Fire, huh? Sounds great! Picking up this album in Oct is on my to-do list.

August 20, 2010 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterryan

Community, to me, is the privilege of serving those around me and , in turn, the privilege of being served.
Community is the recognition that we are all one people, all on one journey. Who is the least of my brothers? Who are we reaching out to? Everyone who needs it. And, in turn, whether our help is accepted or rejected, we can't do any less than our best.
Community, for me, is also living out my Christianity daily. It is not easy, not always popular, but a distinct gift and honor.
I am blessed to work with special needs children. Often people remark how are staff must be "special" to work with these kids. But as we work with them, day by day, we discover how enriched we are by our relationship with them, at how much they have to give us. We also discover that by our touching their lives, and by their touching ours, lives are changed for the better.
Mother Theresa once said ~"I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor? " Our neighbors are everywhere, everyone who has a need. In short, everyone. One world, One people, One community.

August 20, 2010 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterjude

community is all about relating to others. my community is my fellow filipinos, my fellow Christians, my fellow human beings. keep rockin jars! your music means a lot to this world ;D

August 20, 2010 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered Commentercarmina

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

In the shelter of each other - that is shaped and formed by our most holy God.

My ideas of community are informed (first and foremost) by the accounts of the early church described in the the Acts of the Apostles and more pragmatically by words of Richard Lamb.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

"Christian community: common commitment - accountability, common vision - partnership, common life - fellowship" (Following Jesus in the "Real World" Discipleship for the Post-College Years)

We live in community by spending our lives on others (with others) so that we can make the image of the body of Christ a visible, potable, edible reality. In a sense we are called to live lives that bear witness to the glory of God. Our lives must demonstrate love, peace, joy, patience, and gentleness... so that people can respond by saying... this is the Lord's doing and it's marvelous in our eyes.

My experience of community is made manifest in my relationships with my family, friends, and colleagues in professional school.

My family... my original company of friends know me and encourage me. They tear down my illusions and speak words of grace and truth into my life. They pray for me. My friends are my sustenance. We as a body of men and women affirm the reality of each others struggles, joys, and challenges. My colleagues invite me engage in awe matched with pity. I am in awe of the works of our hands - the things we accomplish. I feel deep sorrow over the way we seek to save our lives outside of the redemption of Christ. All of these groups demonstrate something attributed to Thomas Merton....

"our individual salvation is integrally bound up with our participation in a wider collective process of healing and redemption of this troubled world in which we live."

August 21, 2010 at 6:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJocelyn

Love makes us better people. God is love, every day we closer to the Lord, love will gain more weight in our life. I love the new songs, I'm totally fan of this group. May the Lord continue to bless you always and light it light up their lives.
would love that you guys came to Brazil

August 21, 2010 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJuliana Silva Campos

Thanks for the listen this week. Going to be hard to wait a few weeks to hear it again! You guys write songs that bring communities together. As one. "All of your people matter". Not a few. ALL!! Thanks for always being in sync with what we, as a community, need to hear. Your message is loud and clear.

August 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterShellie

Community is building and being built together. I know that's a huge struggle in my own life - I feel either like I'm forcing myself into other people's lives or I'm just different enough to not fit comfortably within any one group of people. Community hinges on love that doesn't restrict people - doesn't demand change, but encourages change. Community provides strength and support when we're in it, and it can take people who are lonely or hurting and just bolster them. I love what you guys are working on. I'm glad you're working on it right when God needed me to hear it.

August 22, 2010 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek

At the age of 16 yrs I went on a mission trip to Africa, which forever changed my life. It changed my teenage perspective and priorities, and my view of Christ in a way there are no words that can completely encapsulate, but you can only experience. I met a boy there, who I absolutely fell head over heals for, and kept in contact for some time after, but eventually lost touch. Last year having been away from this place and God for over a decade I felt called to return with a renewed commitment to Christ and His love. He blessed me so much on that trip, I returned to find that boy, now a man, had also returned to his country after finishing graduate school. It became obvious to us that our community was no longer where we grew up, but a global community. Our love for Christ, I believe led us back to each other and we feel as a couple we have greater things to accomplish through Christ that neither of us could do alone.
I am completely shocked by those I grew up with, who taught me we are all God's children, and to love one another as yourself seem so disgusted and frightened by this relationship. If Christ is truly at the center of you then a "small rebellion" such as this is, is what the world needs.

August 30, 2010 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterB

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