Monday, September 7, 2009

My Dream Community

I have a dream.

I know that MLK should have a copyright on that phrase, and I'm not trying to violate it, but I too have a dream.

It's been a dream in the making for several years now, and now that I feel like it's getting closer to becoming a reality, I'm ready to talk about it.

I have a dream of a small community where families are committed to growing together. Their children grow up together, and they all attend each others sporting events, go to each other's graduations, weddings, and then wait in the waiting rooms to find out if it's a boy or a girl.

These families camp together, vacation together. They're the kind of people you don't hesitate to call late at night when you have a problem, and they are the kind of people that don't hesitate to pick up the phone when you call.

I have a dream that these families might risk together, try to move into neighborhoods close to each other and share God's goodness with their extended community. And while these families believe in having a lot of people they're friendly with, they commit to deep and mutually life-giving friendships with this small community. They don't float from one group to another, skimming the surface, never going deep or living authentically. They know that Christ followers who crave accountability to living a with-God life could never settle for that.

They understand that real friends plan, schedule and arrange for community, and that real friends...real community is not an after thought. It's not a "I don't have anything better to do", or "my original plans fell through, so I called you" kind of a relationship.

This small community will grow old together, sit on rocking chairs on the front porch together, after having served together during the "best years" of their life together, they're committed to spend the rest of their life together. They will reminisce about the "good 'ole days", about what God did through us, and will encourage and mentor the next generation to continue to reinvent the Church.

...I'm taking applications.

11 comments:

Becky said...

Great post Todd! Keep forgiveness as a key value in this community. It's required for doing life together! I'm in!

Lise said...

Todd,

This is a really interesting post, not only for the ideas presented but for the heart behind it. I think I'm going to respond simply to the part about being a Christian community and showing up for each other as the body of Christ (whether via the traditional model of church or something more akin to your vision).

Being a staunch individualist, this was the part about joining JCC that terrified me. I thought that if I became a part of something I would either be swallowed up or that at some point, I'd realize I'd joined a cult. Instead, I feel this odd mixture of freedom and belonging one only experiences in a healthy family. Despite my weirdness, I feel welcomed.

You mention the word "family" many times. I thought joining JCC as a never-been-married woman with no kids would make me an outcast. That has not been the case. Instead, it has been more like the type of community you describe where everyone has a place because the Christ family trumps the cookie-cutter nuclear family model. It does take a village - to keep everyone sane, happy and whole.

I went from being an only child to have having brothers and sisters. Other people to experience life with - the ups, downs, smiles and tears.

Dreams are important. Dreams plus action = manifestation. Thanks for sharing yours'.

adam mclane said...

Does such a community exist? I wonder with the low value our culture puts on job security that it'd really be possible anymore. I've seen it, I kind of want it. It just seems a long way from the world I know.

Jamie, Jennifer, Maddy and Connor said...

Just clicked my virtual "Like" button for this post.

Here in AZ, we've got it backwards. We already moved into these close little communities, but we don't know anybody here. Now we have to work on building those relationships and making them deep. That's what everyone out here is craving.

A Blended Family said...

It’s interesting that you should bring up your dream today. Let me explain a little about our little group of friends. Today our family went to La Jolla with another family that we have known for years. They consider my son, James, part of their family (the son they never had). We are going to be getting together with them for bible study and fellowship once a week. Another couple is going to join us. They were the best man and maid of honor at our wedding, and were there when James was born. In fact we had seven people in the room when my wife delivered, that’s about as intimate as you can get. We have helped each other through our struggles, laughed and cried with each other over the years. Back to getting together once a week, we plan to go out into our community as a group to reach out in some way. We are planning to give money on a monthly basis, above what we give our church, to help support another ministry or help fund a micro-business through Kiva (http://www.kiva.org). We want to go into the world and make a difference. If this sounds like the group you are looking for, let me know. We don’t have an application, but we can start with a hug and see how it grows from there.

Mike Orcutt said...

Todd,

Your post is right on target. This is the Acts 2-4 community in modern times. I will be rading your post to my home group tonight.

Blessings,
Mike

Samantha Prince said...

I'm in for sure. reminds me of The Simple Way & Shane Claiborne.

My brother and I were just talking about this concept and are planning on "doing life" and down the road raising families in a faith-based community like this together.

T.C. said...

Todd: This is one of the best posts I've read on any blog in a long time. Amen, amen!

Sixforsure.org said...

Sort of like a Christian Galt's Gulch. I'm on board.

Anonymous said...

really?

Todd said...

Yup.