My sister just returned from a trip to Mexico where she spent a few days working in a colonia, alongside several of her close friends from church. "George" also just returned, after visiting our dear friends, the Smiths, in China. In "debriefing" with each of them it was clear that the most remarkable and meaningful part of their trips was the relationships that were built or nourished during the time with friends/new acquaintances and through the experiences they shared with those people. They both came back tired, but not weary. They were refreshed and encouraged.
It reminded me that community is vital to the believer - vital to the health of the human soul. Without true and meaningful community our lives grow stagnant as our souls starve for fellowship and purpose. We need relationships where we are investing in one another's (daily) lives at levels which bring about true change, growth and strength... through admonishment, encouragement and a deep residing knowledge of one another. In our culture, we do not naturally cultivate true community. We are often emotionally and thus spiritually isolated. So I think the challenge for each of us is to figure out how we're going to live contrary to our cultural model and relate differently to those around us, working to build meaningful, lasting and Biblical community.
the rice krispies are awesome. they hit the spot this morning. :-) KM
I've found that, sometimes, counter-cultural living results in additional isolation because the way in which it comes across is misunderstood or misinterpreted.
Have you ever read the book "Foreign to Familiar: a guide to understanding hot - and cold - climate cultures?" It's full of great illustrations of culture clashes that get in the way of creating deeper spiritual community.
Living the "bi-coastal lifestyle" (if I can call it that), makes it even more difficult to create that kind of community. Usually, by the time we move again, I will have just got the point where I feel like I'm not playing catch-up any longer. How do you establish that kind of rapport and maintain it over long distances and two (drastically different) sub-cultures?
Most people aren't good at continuing a friendship if they can't see you face-to-face on a regular basis, so I'm constantly looking for better ways to stay connected. The challenge, then, is to find a way to bridge the face gap. If only I knew how...
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