Being set apart
(in reply to: https://twitter.com/bobfronk/status/368813980594102272 )
Ok, here’s my initial thought. Being set apart isn’t about community, it’s about identity. Being set apart forms identity, which forms community.
The NT can be seen as addressing the problems that arise when these things get out of order. The “legalists” in the NT were people who put the set-apartness first, forming community around those markers (circumcision, law-keeping) in contradiction to Jesus and Paul, who formed community around the identity that the set-apartness was supposed to form.
This is why Paul can say circumcision had value, but if you were to encounter an uncircumcised person who nevertheless was “spiritually circumcised”, you should recognize him as a spiritual sibling. The idea being that being set apart is one way people come to a certain identity, but not the only way.
Incidentally, I interpret this “identity” as being the Genesis 1 vision for humanity, a vision where being the child of God entails engaging in the process of creation.
Certainly, all of this can be interpreted differently. I’m just offering my initial response. Community is a hard subject!