02 July 2006

Irresistible Community


I cried this morning as I sat on the porch of my new home. I did not cry because I do not like my new home. Nor did I cry because my home is so whelmingly beautiful and inspirational (although it is absolutely perfectly fantabulous . . . so much so that I'm inspired to write and *gasp* blog again). Instead, I cried after reading this paragraph of Shane Claiborne's book The Irresistible Revolution:

A married couple who were unable to have children happened to meet a woman who had found herself six months pregnant and homeless, so they invited her into their home. It proved to be such a beautiful experience that they decided to continue living together to help raise the new baby girl while the mother pursued her dream of going back to school to become a nurse. They have been living together over a decade now. They are a family, and the baby is now a teenager and the mom a nurse. A heart-wrenching twist to the story is that the wife of the married couple is now very ill with multiple sclerosis, but now the nurse living in her home is caring for her, just as she had cared for the nurse. This is the divine gift of mystical providence and radical interdependence.

I cried because I celebrate the will of God being done on earth, as it is in heaven, through this story. In a time when we are taught to be so fiercely independent, God's will reminds us that, as Daniel Ladinsky paraphrases St. Catherine of Sienna, "vulnerable we are, like an infant. We need each other's care or we will suffer." We are called to community, Communion.

We try so hard to have our "own children," our "own house," our "own healthcare," our "own money," etc., etc. We frown upon 30-year-olds living in their parents' homes and call them "losers." We help others, all the while keeping in mind when our charity is too abundant; soon the needy become "moochers" taking advantage of us.

The kingdom of God, however, looks like a little girl knocking on the door of a family who opened their home to me in South Africa. The child said, "Auntie Connie, we don't have any bread." Without hesitation, Aunt Connie, who did not have much herself, gave a loaf to this child. The kingdom looks like this couple, radically opening their doors to a needy pregnant woman and calling her "family" instead of a "moocher."

The New York Times posted a story today about how lonely U.S. citizens are.

As we face a lonely world telling us there is little hope, the kingdom of God reminds us that hope is in our community and our interdependence.

10 comments:

Mary said...

Beautiful post and so true. Moving so far away from our community has made me realize so much more how we need that. I hope we find it here.
You should definitely keep writing AND *gasp* blogging!

ps (where did you move?)

Heather said...

A book I have been wanting to read.

Ciona said...

Yeah . . . I think I may start back blogging. My new house is inspirational. It's only in Brentwood, so I've not moved far. I just left my other house and Beth (sniff, sniff) and moved in with some other beautiful people! I'll be there for a little while until Lanecia buys a house . . .

Kami Rice said...

nice post! that isolation problem of our culture is particularly troubling. where, oh, where has community gone? i'm excited to keep learning about and working at getting it back. glad your new house is offering blogging inspiration! ;-)

Liz said...

This is a beautiful post. I havent heard of that book, but I will definatly have to check it out!! I agree with you about our society's warped view of community. I am in a city of 5 million people and have to literally step on someone's toes to get them to look at me. Authentic community is hard to come by, and the effects of it are sorely missed by those who know its power.

John said...

I think that I'm going to read this book. My wife has been reading it and it has launched within her a spiritual transformation.

Lorna said...

wonderful. I want to read this too. More so I want to live like - more inter-dependence and love.

frenchpress said...

Just got this book in the mail today. Thanks for the rec.

Judy Callarman said...

I remember now that I have been meaning to buy that book. A good friend of mine who was reading it recently said it had really disturbed her, and she was thinking about it constantly. I'm going to add it to my list in the "Fall into Reading" book challenge--see this page of my blog--you might want to do it, too! http://connectionsgodandtheworld.blogspot.com/2006/09/falling-into-book-challenge.html

Blessings--Judy

Elicia said...

your post was beautiful.....I will read the book. Perhaps I will even start blogging a bit!