A girl with God and a lot of yeses in the middle

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The problem with community

Community especially biblical community is a very bizarre thing to live and be a part of.  The most interesting part is that it shouldn't be bizarre.  Being an American, like most of you, we have a very very very low value for what biblical community really is.  I like my space, my time, and my independence.  Anyone who wants to ruin that becomes the object of the manifestation of my flesh, unfortunately.  The church I've been a part of for almost 10 years now has a vision to live life like they did in Acts 2:42-47.  The people shared everything, they studied the words of God,  they followed the words of God, they saw signs and wonders, and no person among them had any needs.  No person among them had any needs, really?  Did that actually happen?  Yes in fact it did.

Having lived in a very very inter-dependent state with 7-8 other adults and 2 children for the last 17 months has left me in a very interesting place.  I have an entirely different perspective of community.  I have very little room to think just about me (however I often try to force room for me-ness).  Sometimes it feels like I'm married to 7 people.  Even what I want to eat for dinner affects particularly the 3 adults I live with.  We often joke at dinner or while watching a movie how much we've missed each other, for the 10 minutes we were taking showers, because well we are never apart.  And when I mean never, I actually mean never.  A typical day looks like this, we cook breakfast in the kitchen all together, we drive to work in our shared car together, we work all day together, we drive home from work in our shared car together, we eat dinner together, then we socialize and have fun together.  There is not a day that I don't see one of them in our lives here in Leogane.

The problem with this is though, and what I ultimately believe is the problem with true community is, when we are not together I feel a little lost.  Like part of my identity has become us.  I no longer feel like a me but a we.  The problem with community is that when it's gone I realize it's more right than my supposed desire for independence.  I like being a we.  Maybe it's just me that's saying that, but I like us.  This has come about as I am headed up to a friends house in the mountains here to help them out for a few days with only 2 of 7 teammates.  We usually go up there together as a very bizarre version of a family, but today I'm riding alone up there.  I kind of want to cry about it.  I don't make sense without us now.

Last week we were together but apart at our bi-annual missions conference in CO.  It felt like a giant family reunion where at the end of the day all I wanted to find was my inner circle, my immediate family.  How was their experience, what was God teaching them, who was their favorite friend to see, but the last night we were there I just wanted to be with us.

So really the problem with community is that  it's the right way to live and it's not a problem at all, but we so often don't choose it.  We choose independence, self-reliance, and selfishness (I am the greatest culprit of all!).  We were made for togetherness not isolation.  We were made to be a part of family.  As we get older  and see the holes & brokenness in our biological families we are given the opportunity to remain isolated & hurt or painfully give ourselves over to the family of God where healing and restoration are truly found.  God is not even one he is three, but he's one, (pull out an egg now and explain to yourself, and egg is an egg, but it has a shell, a yoke, and that other stuff, I can't remember the word right now, yes I am a highly educated individual.)  There's your first grade Sunday School explanation of the trinity.  I understand nothing of this paradox but love ALL of him!

So today if you read this take the painful selfishness cleansing treatment of community.  It will be one of the most challenging and most beautiful journeys to take.