I’m tired this morning. It was a long night for me as I got to bed late, and then Samuel woke up at 2, after which I spent an hour with him trying to get him back to sleep. I was supposed to get up at the latest by 5:45, but overslept; so I was late for work, to boot. Yesterday was good, though. We made the trek down to Canton for the house church meeting, and while I can’t say that the conversation was particularly challenging for me, I’m quite engaged in and interested in the process (the group process, and my process of becoming a part of the group) so far. While there will no doubt continue to be conversations that I find less than challenging, I am excited about the possibility that this may not always be the case. Moreover, I am excited about being a part of something, about sojourning together with others with whom I am on a mission. Perhaps I’m speaking a bit hopefully at this point. I may even be projecting my own needs/desires for the group onto the group without necessarily getting any sort of group consensus about whether or not the group is or wants to be as I envision it. Still, while some of this may be true, obviously I hope/believe that some of it is not. I think I can say with some confidence that I’ve gotten to know some group members well enough to know that we have a like vision for what “being the Church” is all about, and of course I know what I bring to the table. So, as I said above, I’m excited about being a part of something, and I’m trusting that this “thing” will be greater than the sum of its parts, that together we can do more than we could alone, that these others will help to move me in the direction that I want to go and that I know I should go- the direction that Jesus keeps calling me down.
What is this direction? Well, I think I caught glimmers of it last night, while doing some “surfing” on the web. I knew that Jared and Tina had talked of going to the debut of Wide Eyed Life; so I began checking out their site. I like a lot of what they seem to be about, though politics and my own dear Father aside, I’m a little nervous about anyone who spends a ton of time reading the Drudge Report, as one of the leaders professes to do. Anyway, it was cool to see that Shane Claiborne is coming up to speak to them on April 1 (somehow that seems fitting, and I don’t imagine Shane reading the Drudge Report). I know Shane- sort of- and can make that oh-so-special claim of “I knew him when…” he wasn’t a star, which- wanted or not- he seems to be developing into after the publication of his book. Shane has been connected with Circle of Hope for a long time- though that connection has probably waxed and waned, as such things are wont to do, I suppose- and my ties with the Circle community are well-documented on this blog. .
Still, Shane was a regular attender at Circle of Hope East when we were last there, as were several Simple Way members- including Rose- who regularly visited Samuel in the hospital and made a piece of art for him which still hangs on his wall. Shane and I didn’t necessarily talk much, but I heard him preach at Circle’s Public Meetings, and he heard me preach, etc. Anyway, I’m not saying all this to “name-drop,” necessarily, but rather because it’s interesting to see what could rightly be called an acquaintance suddenly rise to such prominence, and to do so for what I would say are lots of good reasons. I think what Shane and the Simple Way are doing is awesome, inspiring even (in like fashion to what Bart Campolo is working on in Cincinnati), and I hope to some day be a part of such a community. I would encourage any of my few readers to check out the Simple Way’s site, as Shane has some great ideas on there that resonate with my own leanings. Like Shane- I think I can say with some confidence- I believe that the Christian life can only be fully attempted (if not realized) together, and that in this individualized and pervasively atomizing American culture, this practically means living together and working together to develop alternative institutions. One of the great resources/ideas that is linked on the Simple Way’s site includes an alternative “insurance plan” whereby Christians simply pool their resources and then give from those resources as needed to cover medical expenses. Obviously, given the notion of economies of scale, the more people involved (in this alternative insurance plan at least), the more money there is to meet needs. Anyway, I think it’s an awesome and sorely needed idea, and my great hope is that like-minded Christ-followers will continue to develop such alternative institutions rather than be bound by the limited offerings of the “world” (by which I mean that power that has been set up in opposition to the power and kingdom of God- in this case, Western consumer culture; I do not mean “world” in the sense of the created order).
I’ll try to write some more about this later…