Friday, November 25, 2011

Elements of Community - Sense of Sharing

This post attempts to take one step beyond the former post, moving from an emphasis on Us to Our. In community, we ought to feel like there are elements of life that are not merely mine but ours. As a former mathlete, the Venn Diagram comes to mind (see above). The Venn Diagram captures this element of community in which we don't merely come side by side, but we actually overlap. The circles do not bleed into each other and lose their circularity. Instead, they bond over a common space. The common space in communities should be the following: obedience and interaction with God, future hopes, responsibility for others, pains, victories, space and possessions. These shared experiences will be the byproducts of our shared mission and will bear witness to the legitimacy of our ties to one another. To the degree that we attempt to partition these areas off from those to whom we are committed, we will experience a death of sorts. (See II Cor 9:1-15, Acts 4:32)

I feel like I learn a lot from Brazilians about sharing possessions, responsibility and space. When I drove the VW Van into the sewer drainage ditch, all the locals adopted the task of getting the van out as if it were their problem. If a guy in the house buys a package of cookies, these cookies inevitably make their way around the table. During our prayer group in the morro this morning, three chairs were placed side by side to make a bench for five kids to sit on. Recently, Claudinho complained to Carol and I about not giving him a heads up before visitors arrive. According to him, any visitor to the house becomes our visitor. I liked the way he expressed this. Carol and the guys in our house are great examples for me in these arenas.

However, I am always humbled when I read about the church in Acts. Those guys sold stuff so that others could live. They shared joys when experiencing growth and hope when being persecuted. I think they shared their brokenness and humanity far more than we do here. We in the house still buy into the lie that we can only share what's working; the broken stuff gets stuffed or fenced off. While we have made some strides over this last year, we still need to learn how to share more of who we are rather than merely what we have. The cliche alarm is sounding, but I'm have going to have to conclude with that statement.

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