Sunday, September 28, 2003

had a good talk with my cousin frank last night. it reminded me of how different it is to talk about the modern/postmodern great divide when you actually care about the person you are talking to. being blunt feels so much better when you could care less about the emotional equilibrium in the heart of your conversation partner. not the case last night.

coming from a family where being the same is good and the basic foundation for all relating, let's just say these conversations can be like walking through a landmine. but last night i branched out a little...gently pushed the envelope and let it be known that i might be a mite more different than good ole frankie supposed. and caring about him, remembering the ideas i'm working with feel like explosives to many--this all helped and i was able to say a few words about community that didn't feel so much like dropping the bomb. it was just like regular talking...to a friend.

i need to talk this way to keith.

i realized in a recent meeting when keith brought up the possibility of "a new kind of family" (aka "a new kind of christian") i felt inspired only to be brought crashing down when i realized he meant achieving that through the mechanisms of the modern mecca (willow world). (no offense willow...or keith) then i had to bail quick and spend a couple hours trying to figure out why i felt so gross and yet so energized at the same time.

talking to frank, the way we talked, helped.

to me, "the new kind of family" is about something more radical than just finding a subversive way to get everyone in your church to be in a small group or even more than about being a church *of* small groups, as keith put it. i think to have a "nkof" you have to expose people (or at least the people that don't get it) to a new way of including people in their lives. it can't happen in a construct. (once a week, in a circle, singing kum ba yah) it happens when you extend your life in such a way that there's room for other people to really be in it

to need something
to hang out
to talk about nothing
so you can get to something real
by accident

to eat dinner together
to linger over hellos and goodbyes
to stay up late
to be quiet together long enough
until silence isn't uncomfortable anymore

or the space
to be very superficial
very surface
very shallow
very by the way
until it might be okay
to really say something
into an atmosphere of love
where no words in return
are necessary
or wanted
but understood

it takes a very long time to get to the heart of things.

but i guess, not always.
especially if you just click with someone, if your interests line up and your personalities make it easy.

but is this what the church is about? refined match making for compatibles? perfect groups for optimal sharing? the fast track to intimacy? spiritual development?

i'm not saying it's all bad. hell, i'd much prefer to be in a room of nfs than any other, but is that the point?
or is it the point completely?

ideally, not. at least if we're talking about a new kind of family.

i suppose in a nkof you'd have all of the above and then some kind of bridge into the spiritual realm. this is the part i don't have figured out.

i know how to make family out of strangers, and the old me knows how to proselytize for my brand of god talk (yuck, i know). but in my current state, i'm not sure how to enter the truly spiritual dimension...a la praying together, that kind of thing. the--excuse me for saying yet another heinous cliche--the "intentional" part. then it feels forced, kind of corny, kind of amway-y, unless of course someone suggests that kind of thing to me, because i really love to be that way with someone else...prayerful, contemplative. then i'm very happy. i guess i just have angst in asserting myself on these points because i know in the wrong context it can feel so awful.

no one will ever read this blog because it is so long and breaks the "short blurbs" rule.
oh well. this is what i and the rest of the world get for me marrying an introvert who can only hear so many words in a row without glazing over.


all i know is this. talking to frank about what would make his brother or my sister want to re-enter the church, the only thing worth it to me seemed the kind of community where you really could be yourself and struggle and still get loved. the kind of family where you could rifle around in someone's refrigerator, or help yourself to their books or decide to sleep over on the couch or invite yourself over for dinner. the kind of family where someone might call you in the middle of the night and say, you really have to come over now, i'm sorry, but i need you. or the kind of family where you could get called at 7AM to hear a voice saying, i *really* need to _____ for my mental health this morning--come over and just crash on the couch until the kids wake up and i promise i'll make breakfast when i get back.

my cousin would be the first person in line if that was what it was like.
hell, me too!

and that kind of new family, rooted in the love of God, can't happen in exactly the same way with a programmed, once a week approach. something else wonderful happens in that context i'm sure, but not exactly this.

and "this" i think, rings true for me. and my generation. (sorry, guys, i know it's so annoying when people start annointing themselves our personal spokesperson) but still, there's something so gutteral, so real, so intimate about it.
why does everyone i know want to be on the real world?

would someone, anyone, just say we have to stay together, please.
that being in each other's lives day in day out
but not to fight, to backstab
but to care, to grow, or to just be
is the point


doesn't that sound divine?

(maybe that's what we need to do.
be together for long periods of time...
and then we could come back and report
of what it was like to alternately make each
other crazy and get more true to each other than
other circumstances could have ever allowed.
it could be an experiment.)

(sigh again.)

what can i say?

i only know that i want more
more more more
i can survive without a small group
but i can't survive without a family
and we really don't even have a church
until we figure out how to live together
in ways that matter
that make a difference
that change us

i have nothing further.

Friday, September 26, 2003

okay, i'm going to try this blog thing again.
last time i obsessed on clarification, worried about committing myself to words, wrote too long, too seldom. basically it didn't work at all.
but my friend dj said i should just let it all hang out, uncensored and let the words say whatever and let it be whatever, who cares?
since i find myself up in the middle night with my mind racing over various heretical thoughts with no one to share them with, i figure it's time again to take my soap box back to cyberspace.
here goes....

i'm currently mulling over the idea of community and that dreaded cliche "authentic community". doesn't that just make you want to throw up? it's too bad, me too. how to say it better...hmmm....

doing life together
or shallow when appropriate

i know about this kind of thing. nothing's better, but recent conversations at my church (more about that later, and believe me, you want to know) about "small groups" and "authentic community" have left the amway taste in my mouth.

i hate that.

they say they want "a new kind of family" but it smells awfully familiar, musty and old to me.

hate to always be a dissenter on church matters, but once again i find myself there.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?