For everything in this world tries to pull us away from community, pushes us to choose ourselves over others, to choose independence over interdependence, to choose great things over small things, to choose going fast alone over going far together. – Shane Claiborne
While I am deeply pulled toward the idea of community, the reality that I am much more comfortable living independently tears at me. Skye Jethani sums up my sentiment perfectly in his [highly recommended] book The Divine Commodity, “But the idea of community always appears more beautiful than the reality. Real people are difficult, and real arguments erupt. This is the dilemma of community – we desire it, we need it, but we seem ill equipped to create it.”
Yup, that’s me.
I’m discovering this through something that, [sadly] for me, is an unusual circumstance – a prayer group, actually two (!) of them. The first was formed with my neighbors over grief of some harsh realities of life on our seemingly quiet street. We are certainly an unlikely bunch, the four of us who come together, not a whole lot in common on the outside. And yet as we join together to bring the brokenness of our neighbors and ourselves to a redemptive God, we are united. The authors we prefer fade, the theological preferences pause, the political opinions quiet. We carry a deep grief in our hearts, and a fierce hope that our God can redeem the suffering we see.
The second is with a group of moms at my daughter’s school. Some of us (read: me) come from quiet, reverent praying backgrounds and others from expressive, charismatic ones. While the latter are slightly beyond my comfort zone, I learn especially from them. I love the fervency of their faith, for I so often pray out of my doubt. It is rich for me to hear another way.
When it comes to ‘fit’, I don’t really belong well in either of these groups. Sometimes I walk away shaking my head, wondering why God allows so many differences. (It sure would be easier if they were all just like me.)
And then I remember.
This ‘diversity’ thing – it’s beautiful.
Same = boring.
Here’s to the small things, to slowly going far with real people.