Posts Tagged ‘community’

I live in an apartment community. They call it a community, but we do not know our neighbors. I take responsibility for not introducing myself beyond saying hello in the parking lot. I am not a party giver, but if I were I would plan a block party.

The squirrels own this community. They hang out at the dumpsters. They are champion dumpster divers. Last fall a partially eaten apple dropped  nearly on my head as I walked underneath a tree, followed by the skritching of squirrels high-tailing it away from me.  A gang of rowdy teenage squirrels playing pranks on their neighbors — they need jobs.

I’ve been tempted to try dumpster diving myself. Actually, one day I did help a neighbor carry home a table we found in a dumpster. It’s shameful, even obscene, the things and the sheer quantity of stuff we throw away in our country. We keep buying more and throwing away more. I want to rescue some of that stuff and not support the engine that says increasing consumption is necessary for economic health.

The contents of dumpsters are a resource, or could be. Some people use this resource all the time. My friend, Luke, is an experienced diver. If he were here, I might ask him to teach me.

In a true community, resources would be shared instead of thrown away.

Relationships are the most fundamental resources. How can we share ourselves and treat relationships as valuable instead of disposable? Even in an apartment complex where at least part of the residents, maybe a majority, are transient? When the lease is up, they move. I probably will too.

The rising cost of housing militates against a stable community.

We have to work even harder to create and grow one.



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How to Build Community

I have moved. I am in a new place in a different state. With the help of family — this move brought me closer to my children — and friends, moving out of my house and into an apartment happened remarkably smoothly, for which I’m grateful.

Paper clutter is still my bane, and even after clearing out before the move, some followed me and now must be disposed of or kept. . . somewhere. One piece is a printout called “How to Build Community” that I found online several years ago. How fitting. I need these suggestions as I settle in to a new location. Maybe they’ll benefit you or your community as well. Here it is. You’re welcome.And now I can throw the paper one away.

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I have been in both kinds of crowds, and it always comes down to superiority and conflict. Conservative or liberal? Evangelical or social justice?  God’s on our side. No, God is on our side.

Here’s what I long for.

I long for a community where people on both sides extend grace to people on the other side–Actually, why do there have to be sides? A place where no one assumes that they know everything, that they know best. A place where no one assumes that either liberal or conservative is synonymous with Biblical. A group of people who in fact realize that God sees the whole picture and we cannot, that God loves and leads and judges perfectly and we do not, that God is perfectly wise and we are not.

I long to be able to simply listen to each other, listen beyond the words even, until we hear each other’s hearts, and in the midst of us, God’s heart. There will be ugliness and there will be beauty, but above all there will be vulnerability. And then, if we stick with it, there will be transformation and awe. Are we brave enough for that? Am I? Can we offer each other a safe enough place for that?

I’m not so good at it myself. But please, lets try.

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