We believe in it, engage in it, and are out to establish it. In a generation where it is more common to lock eyes with a glowing screen than their equals, the concept of what community was for our parents and grandparents has crumbled. Silver lining: the inter-webs make community possible in a way that has never been. It is possible for me to maintain legitimate relationships with friends living in Germany, Ireland, and beyond. That's mind-blowing, really.
With the ability to form a world-wide community evolving in shape and definition everyday, community has expanded to something beautiful, something that quite literally has potential to compose itself, an electronic net canopied over our earth. One that holds in it the ability to shatter injustices, break down language barriers, till the soil for innovation in it's most epic form yet. And yet, something feels shifty when we push in to this concept alone. Our footing becomes faulty and we lose the ability to connect with those down the street, next door, in our homes.
As we work up to our first ever F + B at the table event, I notice more and more the importance of that basic connection's unexpendable tie to details of what it means to be alive. Basic community. What it looks like. Why we need it. Where our parents, their parents, and beyond had it right.
We are in our very nature pack animals. The most intelligent, potential-ridden organisms on the planet with an affinity for familial bonds. From the basic dependencies of breast-feeding (prior to formula have you), and basic protection and nurturing for a new-born, to artful elements of leisure and recreation like canoeing, camping, dancing, dining, to the betterment of self found in the Holy skeleton of marriage and the family (by blood or bond) unit—life is better done in numbers. It takes two-to-tango. Or something like that. 100 years ago, you had to know those around you. It meant protection, safety for your land, your crops, your family. The value of community has been lost in that way. The need for it remains.
Let's begin again to claim these connections as Holy. Let's practice community how to's in their most basic form. Apply them to our lives. Watch how God breathes on them. You'll be astounded.
1. introduce yourself to your neighbors…and then do it again.
Find out your neighbors names, and do something kind for them. Make them cookies, pretend you have extra to get rid of if this feels too awkward, just break the ice. God is strategic in everything. Everything. Do not let the literal presence of those He has placed around you in your ordinary everyday eating sleeping and drinking life (nod to the brilliant Mr. Peterson + Romans 12), and allow the Lord to sweep in.
2. drop the age barrier
I get it. It isn't the norm to have a bestie who is 30+ years older than you, but man is it fun. Soak. Soak. Soak. When you can drop your pride and learn to look for, and to value relationships as close friendships outside the barriers of age, wisdom has room to flourish in your life.
3. be uncomfortable
Nothing extraordinary is going to happen inside your comfort zone. Have the awkward first coffee date (or 5). At the end of the day what we have been gifted into is the most beautifully scripted battle of love and war of all time. Humans are themselves full of stories, of little, tiny scribbles that all piece together the bigger battle. Engage them. Coffee is a great place to start.
When I was 22, I ended a small collection of long-term relationships unhealthy to my life. We're talking 7+ years on some of these relationships. I knew my life was going a different direction and if I was to allow the momentum to take me fully in the direction my bones were aching, it was an action necessary to advance. I enrolled in a new school, knew no-one, and had the choice to form around myself a wall of community, or allow the unknown to swallow me. The first seemed like a better option.
The simple act of applying 1-3 to my life revolutionized me. I met my husband, 3/4 of my bridesmaids, and found a community of gold—the kind most people don't even realize exists. The kind that can change the world, and quite frankly the kind that will.
So. In our media-focused world, cheers to you internet. For allowing this publication to exist.
Here's also to the art of unplugging, shutting down, and tuning out. Apart from Jesus, people are the most important components to the Kingdom, the vessels that can steward Heaven, harness it's glory, present it on earth. Go build your army, so together we can build His.