Chapter 6: Be A Person. Community + Friendship.


Tennessee Beach, from a recent day of exploring with a slice of my community 

It was nice to take a few days away from writing and process all that Sarah Bessey's book Out of Sorts has been pouring into my mind. It's been akin to the age old saying about drinking water out of a fire hydrant. Instead of rushing though this last chapter, tears and smiles and every other emotion steaming from my body, this chapter I read slowly and deliberately, re-reading and meditating over sentences that truly hit home. Such as this gem:

"If you can't find God while you're changing diapers or serving food or hanging out with your friends, you won't find God at the worship service or the spiritual retreat or the regimented daily quiet time or the mission field."

or 

"This is another way to fall back in love with the Bride of Christ: open your doors and welcome her into your life."


So now, hopefully with more clarity and less typos, here are my responses to chapter 6 Be A Person: On Community and Friendship.  

Have you seen the efforts to foster community in a church fail? How have you seen them succeed?

I haven't ever seen any church actively seeking to foster community fail, but I have seen churches failing to foster community. I have been a part of some of these churches. Many of these churches place ALL responsibility of the building of the community on the members of the church, hoping it will magically springforth from a group of people that sit beside one another Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. I think eventually some semblance of community forms out of this, but it tends to be more from need than desire.

When I have been apart of churches that succeed in fostering community it is because the church leadership see and value the need for believers to participate in holy community together -- even when and especially when, it's hard and messy! This method and pressure to incubate community has to come from leadership like a slinky going down stairs.

What do you seek from Community? Can you identity what drives you to need others and what is false pressure from an outside ideal?

Simplistically I seek value. I feel valued and appreciated when I am an active part of a community, as a gear in a watch. I think only when all the gears are turning can you get traction and find purpose in your life and in your community. I also seek the desire to just be. Many times because of my current job or my position at church it becomes hard to find true places that I can just be, that I am not expected to show up knowing the full plan. Community for is a place where I can "turn off" the pressure I feel to be present and perfectly functional at all times.

For many years I believed that you had to be extroverted and outgoing to truly function in community, that was a false pressure from an outside ideal and thanks to the communities I've found myself in recently I know now that I can be my introverted self and still benefit and benefit from a community.
Part of my community - Pastor Steve & the other Regenterns 

Can you relate to Sarah's idea of concentric circles of relationships? How does this play out in your life? 

I'd never thought of it quite like Sarah wrote about, but I totally have those circles in my life. It works pretty naturally in my life and involvement at Regen thanks for the systems already in place. I have my larger church family, my crowd. Then theres my home group - Renew-  my community. A few other people, such as my roommates and fellow interns fall neatly into this group. My Somewheres are a bit harder to tie down, but they are there. They are my closest friends in Texas, my closests friend here in Oakland, and some of my family. Moving and replanting myself every year has taught me that there isnt a quick method to growing somewheres, sometimes you will go though periods without a good somewhere in your life, and othertimes, such as now for me, I am in a season of abundant somewheres. Thankfully these somewheres can follow you throughout life and be a bridge in times where you need a hand to step from one season to the next.

Can you identify the "Somewheres" in your life? Have you expressed the importance of those relationships to one another?

Yes, I have a pretty clear sense of the somewheres in my life, but because I'm often stubborn and independent it's been a pretty recent development in my life to allow people into that last circle. I have learned about safe people and am so thankful to have come to a place where I see the undeniable value and importance of having a group of somewheres in your life. I haven't always done my best to vocally express the importance of the somewheres in my life, but I think and hope these somewheres know their value in my life and feel they benefit from our mutual somewhereness. 


Recently I cooked dinner for some of my somewheres. Food is my love language.


Until next time,

xoxo Jenoa