That's right. The guy who is constantly talking about, preaching about and blogging about biblical Intentional Community. The guy who has tried to build into the very fabric of The Pathway that church is not a place we go on Sundays, it's who we are as the body of Christ on mission for God every day of the week. The guy who spends a significant amount of his time trying to teach people to live in community, serve in community, invite people into community and encourage people not to run from community when things get messy. That's right, I think God just graced me with a glimpse at what community could be... maybe even what it should be... if it wasn't forced, organized, recruited, trained, dissected, launched and well, orchestrated.
Let me explain.
Kelli and I cancelled our cable a while back and apparently no one in our family thinks I can survive without television (that's probably true) because we were immediately inundated with boxes of hand-me-down movies and TV series on DVD. Well, one of the series we were given was Season 3 of "24." I'll spare you the details, but I now have a serious man crush on Jack Bauer and I'm beginning to believe that I could actually pull of some of his antics... but that is probably for another blog. What started out as Kelli and I watching a season of "24" turned into a few of our friends gathering on Monday nights to watch all of the seasons of "24." It was usually 4, 6, maybe 8 of us who would watch. But as time moved on it has morphed into a night that is anticipated, looked forward to and planned for. We arrange our schedules around "24" night. It's kind of scary, but also kind of fun. That leads me to the experience I had to night.
I came home from running an errand for Kelli at Target and there was barely enough room to park at my house. There were 16 people crammed into the tiny living room of our little 950 square foot home. And with no air conditioning in Washington it was rather warm. Someone had brought homemade pizza and someone else had spent all day cooking pork. One of our crew had a birthday on Saturday so Kelli made her famous cake balls and somebody else brought ice cream. There were all different shapes, sizes, colors, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds in the room. There were followers of Jesus and there were those who don't yet know Jesus. We laughed, we poked fun at each other, we talked about our week. We ate food and we watched "24."
After our minimum two episode intake people sat around and talked for another hour plus. I had and heard conversations of life, of work, of stress and struggle. There was talk of Scripture and life. There were plans made, needs met, cars shared. One of our bunch even stayed the night so that we don't have to wake our kids up early when Kelli has to take me to the airport. And all the interaction, all the conversation, all the life shared just happened. I didn't plan any cute ice breakers, we didn't watch a cool DVD curriculum. We just got together to watch "24," and community... biblical and intentional community... well, it just happened.
As a pastor, I find myself working so hard, praying so hard, trying so hard to teach people to want community, to get in community, to love community and to be the church. I will say that I think that is necessary. So many people have missed it. But what if people truly just started being the church again? There was nothing orchestrated tonight. No one came out of obligation and there was no pre-planned schedule or script. It was just all natural, completely beautiful, Intentional Community.