Thursday, September 15, 2011
I am now living with an intentional Christian Community called Church of the Sojourners in San Francisco, Ca. I came from Santa Barbara, Ca 1 month ago on Aug 14.
Life is different now. I play with little kids, talk with caring adults, and learn from the elderly. The difference is that I do these things all under the same roofs, in the same backyard, it's all within arms reach. And the living arrangements and schedule of live together demands that I will frequently have the opportunity to try and engage and get to know others. I have realized since being here that just being in this community does not guarantee that I will connect deeply with people and have a wonderful life. There are people here who struggle with depression or addiction or who withdraw from community, just like anywhere else. The difference between my surroundings here at Sojourners and my surroundings back in Santa Barbara is that here it is a heck of a lot easier to connect with people and seek support. Let me explain
It's easier to connect with others here at Sojourners because of a combination of physical proximity and a culture of family like I have not experienced before. And because we are so physically near each other, and because there are 5 shared meals a week, 5 shared morning prayer times, a teaching time, and a worship time on Sunday, we see each other living out the culture of family and being open to each other. On Sundays there is a time of "open mic" affirmations, when everyone is encouraged to speak about how they see God at work in someone else in the community. I have found this time of affirmation from individual to individual while the group listens to be profound, because it helps us as a group have eyes to see God at work in each other in the daily grind. And then with eyes of greater understanding and empathy we go live the daily grind with each other, sharing space.
This is a beauty I have seen so far. Not that I have not struggled with some loneliness, anger at self, compulsive eating, emotional flat-lining, withdrawing from community, or spiritual distance from God, because I have some struggled with all of these since coming. But I am finding it easier to bounce back and more tangibly evident that there are people who care walking with me, because they are literally with me both in physical location and verbal affirmation and concern. My room is a 12' x 12', rather small, and that's were I keep my personal belongings. But I also have a key to all 9 flats of the community and permission to not only use space and many group resources, but also to connect with others assuming their welcome.
Again this is not a solution to my problems.... but it seems to make solving them a heck of lot easier.
I would say the same for church.... as I see it so far (with my limited experience here) that this way of doing church is not THE SOLUTION, but it makes doing "church" and community heck of a lot easier.
For more details on church of the sojourners read my previous post and/or go to http://churchofthesojourners.wordpress.com/
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I will be joining them for a year starting Aug 14th 2011.
Their are 4 town houses houses within walking distance of each other in the Mission district of San Francisco that constitutes the Church of the Sojourners. They are a community that shares life and are a church, they see no distinction between the two. They are multi-generational, with some families with small kids, young adults, long-time members, up to the elderly. They have a schedule of life together, involving worship on Sundays, some group meals throughout the weeknights, some bible/devotional studies. Most members have part time jobs, but not full time because they are highly invested in their housemates. They are more focused internally on loving each other well rather then constantly going out and trying to love all their neighbors. That said, they frequently receive new members or visitors who are needy into the community who are then cared for by the group.
They also have what are called discernment meetings where they come together to prayerfully decide as a community what to do with certain pooled resources, and help individuals decide about taking jobs, or other life matters. The idea is that a community of Jesus followers thinking and praying together will better be able to make any important decision, including those that American culture considers personal. And when that community also lives with you then they are invested in the results of the decision, whether for better or ill, and they get to see the fruit God bears in their housemates, and so it seems to be an atmosphere that encourages empathy and deep connection.
New members first go through an apprenticeship year which is what i am considering. It involves participating in the community life i have described, and then deciding at then end if the their is a goof long term fit. I think i would learn much from this group in the year.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
But until such a labeling law a arrives we should not be afraid to publicly decry waste and environmental hazards no matter how common place and no matter what percent of consumers are participatory. The more educated the public the more the public can make informed decisions. I think most people will chose to save the earth, (and thus themselves), when presented with a choice. But pure TV driven commercial consumerism does not provide a choice, it just creates an empty feeling in side of you that you try and fill with the neat gadgets and colorfully labeled processed foods that commercials present. We need to balance out product commercials with educational commercials. Or require that product commercials present a more whole perspective of their product. Does any company ever do product satisfaction surveys and then include undistorted results on commercials for that product. ‘Did this product make you happy?’ should be the first survey question, because most every TV commercial is implicitly saying, ‘If you use this product you will be happy’, which is a lie. We should not assume anyone will see around this lie, especially in this the age of identity by consumption.