Saturday, September 25, 2010

COMMUNITY 2.0...beyond the church

To is a word that has been over used in many contexts and poorly executed in others. For too many years my brand name church dictated what community was and how to know I was 'doing' it right.

It's only now, completely outside the walls of the the church that I can admit the persuit of community or finding a place to feel safe and belong, is innate part of our humanity, not a construct of the church...the desire to be part of a community has existed forever. From the foundations of civilization, people have instinctively formed communities, tribes, clans etc. We are designed to need each other.

Truthfully, I never thought about community, what it is, or if I 'had it' until it became a big movement in 'the church' in the 80's and 90's. Even though I already had community in many contexts, I never really contemplated identifying it or labeling it until community inside the church became paramount. Then I was obsessed and I did what ever I needed to to make it happen. Sometimes it felt real and other times it didn't...Some of the people I met in and through those various communities back then, are still in my life and are integral parts of the web of community I continue to assemble and value today.

What I know now is that I need all kinds of people in my life...not just people from a particular brand name church, parenting or marriage ministry or women's group. I need people in general that care about me and will be there when the shit hits the fan. Emerging Desert is one of the most important communities in my life for sure but it's not totally 'it'.

Leaving the narrow-mindedness of my past life, has given me the freedom to pursue relationships and add people to my 'community' I would not have before. I've found very real community at the studio where I practice Yoga...I've found it in and through social networking media like Facebook, twitter and blogs...I've found it in developing relationships with conservative Catholics and Muslims as well as in serving parachurch ministries and community organizations like Save the Family.

Right now, community for me is about people...period. I want people in my life that I can know intimately and who will want to know me more intimately. They can be from any where. I love how David refered to his grandmother's community as "a mosiac of loves"...a perfect analogy. Community is a colorful, diverse network,(web) of people that make my life more rich and more is the people I love.

Meditation on Community

On the topic at hand, and in light of the funeral this week that you all laughed at me for looking forward to...

The meditation notes on community that I offered last week in a small Episcopal church in Yuma AZ.:

Community; our need for one another

Community is a very sacred word and a very powerful concept and it was everything to this Lady. My grandmother was apart of this community in Yuma, in Business, in society, in media, in radio, in schools, in groups, in organizations, in church and in Her home.

Community is the most basic of needs for all of us. There is an ever-present battle within us to fight our need for one another; we are tought by every mean, to tolerate, coexist and remain independent, self absorbed and self-sufficient.

Sociology may tell us groups just aimlessly happen. Psychology may tell us people find groups. Science may tell us that homogeneity is tantamount. Philosophy may tell us our identity is in pieces. The government may tell us to keep to ourselves

The sinful nature tells us to be addicted and shackled by our own desire God tells us: we need each other: for both proactive into the good and reactive out of the bad.

From Adam on, the first thing God said is not good? For man to be alone.

One community:
We are called to costly community while
Comfort and affinity call us numbing uniformity.

Christ called us to diversity: His disciples...
A zealot and a tax-man
A rebel and a fed.

Acts 2:42-47
Acts 4: 32-37

Ellen, Gamma Wheeler led a life of community that was as colorfully diverse as her many hats and her cloths and her interests and her friends.

Her Legacy:
Her legacy of community is profound. Her collection of friends in the garden of her life is vast. Her breadth of influence and mosaic of loves was a testimony to a heart that was actively and violently being emptied for others.

May we all strive as she did in so many ways to be more Christ-like in that way. For the joy of His bride, the church, His community. Her actions are an avalanche of community and love far louder than spoken, preached, or whispered words.

And so I ask
Will we be a catalyst? Will we be intentional in our circles? Will each of us chose against ourselves, in order to come closer together?

You will find community somewhere. Will it be one that matters and will you help it matter more? What we do becomes who we are. May we be vulnerable and raw, continually seeking to keep the body healthy

You cannot love God without loving those around you. If we can’t love others that we do see then how can we love god who we cannot? .

Does your community matter?
Does your community look like heaven? That's what my Gamma wanted, and that's what makes her smile today.

We need to learn to deny our lust for self-sufficiency and celebrate our need for the body.
We were given two very specific gifts:

The Holy Spirit to be in us
And the body of Christ, which is the church community

No one likes a stubbed tow or a broken finger, and we cannot put up with this body we have. It has cancer and pneumonia. It is letting disease spread faithless religion and it is not breathing in the good things it needs to grow.

Community was everything to her

And may it be for us as well.

One Another's:
Eph: 4 be kind, compassionate to...
Colossians: 3 forgive...
1peter: submit to...
James 4: do not slander...
1 Thessalonians: encourage...
Romans 12: live in harmony with
1 John: if we love then His love lives complete.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

COMMUNITY: Our Collective Thoughts

Hey everybody,

Upon reading Donald Miller's recent blogpost, What “we” are missing in our lives…, I was reminded of the various talks we've had over the months about doing a blog series here centered on the concept of "community." Let's do it!

The structure will be pretty loose [as with all things EmDes:-].

The idea will be to simply offer your reflections on "community."
Where does your mind go when you hear that word? What are great examples of community both in past times and in our modern context? How is community created/achieved? Why is it important? What are the aspects of it that you just don't understand or make you frustrated? etc.

I'm trying to get everybody who's involved with the cohort author-invitations if they aren't already contributors (please let me know if I've overlooked somebody or if you have questions on how to post your thoughts). This is open to everyone, and I'm excited to see where this goes...

- Adam