Monday, May 30, 2005

Intentional Community

This past weekend was pretty awesome...probably the first memorial day weekend in college that I haven't been stressing about schoolwork. That, my friend, is an excellent feeling.

A bunch us went out to go kyaking out at Mission Bay, and afterwards BBQ'ed it up :). It was good times, with good company.

I thoroughly enjoyed helped flipping folks into the water after kyaking...that made it worthwhile.

But after all was said and done, I started cleaning up (though most of it was done, w00t for servant hearts), I realized that I didn't really get a chance to talk to anyone during the entire trip.

Observations:

Showing up to events, having events, doesn't mean that community is there. Much like having all fellowships show up in one place doesn't mean unity (heh). Showing up to fellowship events and group events doesn't mean that you're growing in community.

For some, this is obvious, but for me...the journey into community is very much a journey away from my chronic-selfishness as it is a journey into community. I can function very well on my own. In fact, left to my own devices and without any pushing from others, I will stay alone. I don't naturally gravitate towards initiating contact with others.

This past year, as God's been confronting me on this, I've been realizing that though I could function on my own...it was not good for me to be alone :). I understand that Genesis quotation is oft-used in the marriage-context, but I believe that that is very much of a larger need to "belong" in the company of like-minded believers.

Again, this is like "duh" for some people, but for me, its like whoa...I must have been missing something.

That being said, I guess I didn't make the connection that now that I have started to be around folks more, I actually have to get to know them. (me != genius) I just kind of assumed stuff like that would happen. (me == kind of slow)

Regretfully, looking back at this weekend, I so readily busied myself with preparations and the things that "needed" to be done at the moment, that I forfeited perhaps the most precious thing about the weekend: people. Friends. Awesome people, some of whom I don't see often, yet...I was content in just cooking, running back and forth, just doing the stuff.

I suspect that this part of what Martha was doing. Things had to get done. Jesus was there! The party hard to go on!

And yet, what did Jesus say? Mary has chosen the better part.

Hum.

I don't like awkwardness, and quite frankly...I'm pretty darn awkward when it comes to getting to know people. I don't do intentional community well. I don't know what questions to ask. I think my fear overrides my desire to be in community.

I know I need it though. And Jesus calls me into it.

And I think part of it is that at the back of my mind, there's the fear of rejection. That if I put myself out there, people won't find me interesting enough to respond in kind. I think these fears are definitely founded, one of the worst feelings in the world is experiencing that kind of rejection. (Makes one wonder how you can leap from establishing friendships --> dating relationships...an interesting thought. This probably goes into the arena of feeling like you're doing all the initiating and people just respond. That's a whole another arena of discussion. )

Anyhow, if you were over this past weekend...I apologize if we didn't really get a chance to chat. I understand I can't be friends with everyone, (What?! I can't!? Aww boo...) but I've realized that I've been created for relationship...not just with an awesome Creator, but with His creation. And with that design that there is a desire relationship, a desire to be known and to know others.

Unfortunately, the introduction of sin into this world has created a whole realm of hurt from the seed of relationships. But we gotta keep on going. Gotta be intentional. Got to get past the selfishness and the pity party and learn how to be less awkward :) Learn how to be transparent without overdisclosure, learn how to be honest without being wierd, learn how to love our imperfect brethren relentlessly in the midst of rejection...because if we can't even love brothers and sisters relentlessly, what do we have to offer this broken world?

Nothing.

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From chucky's xangr.

"More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. it is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. still, it is not as simple as it seems. my own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. it is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. but i wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them."

-henri nowen

1 comment:

  1. but don't forget- according to Jesus's ministry, community comes in three levels- the party, the family, and the salt. Don't forget having fun is something vital to a community :). Sometimes, it just takes time for community to grow deeper into "the family" and "the sent". You can't put on your shoes before your socks.

    anyways. Richard Lamb. Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends. Read it.

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