Over the past years, my wife and I have had the privilege of being a part of a small group. Surprisingly, this hasn’t (for me at least, hopefully for the others too) become something we dread, or another time consuming commitment, or “church” thing that we do because we feel like we should participate in church stuff. In fact, the level of community that I’ve experienced in this group has been refreshing on a deep level.
I care about what’s going on in their lives. I find myself praying for them. I look forward to seeing them at events, etc. I actually feel like we’ve developed relationships that are echoes of what God intended back when he said “You, together, are the body of Christ”…etc. I look forward to where this group goes together/the work we do, and where we each find ourselves down the road.
In this group, and in a couple other friendships, my wife/life/God have taught me how to grow…..I’ve learned, and continue to learn what it means to actually “build a relationship” with another human being. I’m thankful for her pushing me beyond the type of person who simply likes to shake hands, make connections, and share a ride with others. (check my Facebook friends population….I’m actually more ashamed than proud…the numbers speak to the depth of many of those relationships.)
So much so, that I really wish we could all buy a giant house or a few houses in a neighborhood together, and move in together as a small group…or somethin’ crazy like that. To experience intentional community with these friends, supporting from and drawing from each other as each is able…etc. Not sure how it’d all work out….and it’s probably more like a 5th grader level desire to “have all my friends live near me” or what not. Although I can be honest and say, I don’t wanna live near them just because I like playing together: They know I’m not a big AOE fan.
Which seems to be the issue some other “New Monasticism” communities are dealing with. In reading this article, which came in response to this article (feel free to read both/either/neither). How intentional communities somehow end up being of one “culture” or color, or whatever.
Even with the issues that have been brought up in the article above, I think there are VERY important things about living as communities that the new monasticism movement brings up. I think we can all agree that technology, cities, development, and population, etc. have all led to a very independant, individual-driven, selfish lifestyle; and sometimes even a theology to go with it.
God has called us, and even created us…for life with each other. When we model that in our own lives, across any kind of social/economic/racial/political barrier….we are speaking the good news of the Kingdom of God. Maybe that needs to look like something large and radical. Maybe it’s a radical that transforms in the small things…
And not “wow, new shirt?” radical, but
“I’m not sure I want to sit by you on the bus anymore” radical.
(to use the 5th grader mentality of someone who would rather sit in the same ole’ pew)