Community is a messy thing.
At least, it better be.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for things being done decently and in order. To everything there is a season and all that rot. But please, let’s deal in some reality.
Lives are hard, complicated, messy things. Community is an intentional sharing of our lives with others. Guess what? That means we’re getting our mess all over other people and they’re getting their mess all over us. This is how it’s supposed to work.
One of the primary reason why I stepped outside of a normal expression of the “Western Church” is because I felt like there wasn’t much (if any) real connection between people there. We all just showed up at the appropriate service times, smiled politely at each other, shared the occasional prayer request if our lives didn’t feel perfect, and then went our own ways until the next service time. I want something more. I want reality. I want genuine people. I want community.
Well, you know what they say about being careful when wishing.
I’ve learned a lot over the last year or so. To the point, I’ve learned that what I want isn’t always as pleasant as is sounds in a blog post. When we involve ourselves in other people’s lives we get directly involved in their messes and it effects our life too. We get real, raw emotions; but those come with tantrums and bigotries. We get deep conversations and life changing potential; but it costs us our facades and carefully maintained images. We get reality like we wanted, but we also get reality like we never knew existed.
Please understand, I don’t regret my decisions, nor has my desire for community abated at all. I’m simply looking at this through more experienced eyes. I’m starting to look at all of my relationships with the insight of new truths. I’m seeing family differently. I’m identifying the communal experiences in grief, joy, and life. I’m starting to feel the messes I’m wading through in more lives than just mine.
Life’s a mess. Might as well clean ’em up together, don’t you think?