Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fellowship

As The Man and I have been reading together and discussing our book, and as I've spoken with friends recently, the word "fellowship" keeps entering our conversations. I'm not small-minded, nor am I unlearned about my faith, so to keep hearing this word in conjunction with discussions about faith has me perplexed. What is this "fellowship" I keep hearing about?

I've never heard a Catholic say to me, "Why don't we fellowship this evening?" in the same way that I've heard Protestants say it. The Man and I don't get together and "fellowship" with other people. We share meals, share conversation and fun, and even share our faith, but we've never "fellowshipped."

As far as I know, the word isn't even a verb, it's a noun. Fellowship can be realized, but it can't be done.

From what I can gather biblically, "fellowship" is a gathering of people who share the same ideas supporting each other in a sort of worship-type meeting. Protestants, therefore, couldn't be in fellowship with Catholics as the two have different views about salvation and authority. Episcopalians couldn't be in fellowship with Methodists. Even some Baptists couldn't be in fellowship with other Baptists for not having the same ideas.

To the best of my knowledge, "fellowship" has overtones of "being in communion with" another person or group. I can have a fellowship with the Catholic Church because I am in communion with said church. I cannot share a fellowship with my parents as they are not Catholic. If I understand the text correctly, the noun "fellowship" also requires an element of worship. A gathering of people for a meal cannot be a type of fellowship. A get-together where one prayer is said before a game isn't exactly a type of fellowship either. I think it requires more than a "Hi God, we're here, bless us and thank you, Amen." I think it takes more serious discussion and sharing of faith, Bible or no, church building or no, and agreement among the people there. Unless there is the exchange of ideas related to faith that can be agreed upon, fellowship won't exist. People can't get together and study the Bible or pray the rosary and then go out for dinner and call the going out part "fellowship." Some might call the Bible study or the rosary recitation a "fellowship" of people. I call it a Bible study or rosary circle. The going out to eat thing is still just going out to eat.

That's what I could glean anyway. Is "fellowship" something you do or something you have? How do you create it? What are your thoughts?

2 comments:

That corgi :) said...

ummmm, I'm thinking how I would define fellowship and I'm not sure I could come up with a good definition for it. But I'm thinking Jesus would want us who believe in him to have fellowship with each other based on unity in him and what he did for us. something to think about tonight

betty

5 Kids With Disabilities said...

I think fellowship means a community of, or a group with common interests in spiritual issues.
Lindsey Petersen