Wednesday, September 29, 2010

some thoughts

My wife and I talked quite a bit while away on vacation. It is so nice to be able to discuss things even slightly out of the fray. What is going on in our lives, what does the future hold, how do we see things going with our community? We talked about our dreams, and our hopes, we talked about our concerns. But one thing we wrestled with was the whole idea of our public persona and social media.

I tend to live very publicly, I share too freely at times, and am very open about everything. I think that is good in most ways, especially sharing my own doubts and frailties. But what about Jesus admonition to pray in secret, to do your good works in secret? What about Paul saying love doesn't parade itself? How does that effect facebook? Twitter? this blog?

Yesterday I was studying a passage of scripture with my daughters and they both pointed out how public the church seemed to function in its beginnings. Jesus also said "let your light so shine so that men will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

So what do we do? Our community has no name, no website and no formal leadership, mission statement or building. I have a blog, and post bible study videos once and a while. We have an open dinner and bible study time but don't advertise it, and are hesitant to invite people until they are in relationship with us. We could use a few more people in our community. I long for a house (preferably donated) that can serve as a house of hospitality, a community gathering place, with a garden and maybe even a small hermitage. Do I court donations and get attention? Just heard a video of Patch Adams talking about how he got famous in the hopes he could build his hospital and has spent twenty years being a celebrity and just now broke ground.

Whats the answer? How the hell should I know? We are trying to live day by day, being faithful to what we have now. Maybe I will do less online stuff, maybe more. Maybe we will do a bit more public stuff with our community, maybe we will stay as the mustard seed a bit longer before we really sprout. I just know the wrestling, the doubt, the struggle is all good, and what keeps us depending upon God and each other.



gbroughto said...

Hang in there Rev., I think the cautiousness about 'going public' is a good thing (probably because I often feel the same).
but in the social media world there are far too many Christian show ponies who have a slick website, high profile on fb and twitter and not much substance.
maybe it has always been this way, but the possibilities to have a 'public' profile / presence that is not actually doing much on the ground are multiplying with each technological development... the whole Avatar scenario...

just my thoughts on your thoughts...

Unknown said...

Waited to see if others with more direct experience would speak first. I have studied the many forms of intentional community in the US since the 70's, and worked to create a successful community atmosphere to restore "throw away" kids in a nonresidential setting.

There are a thousand quick ways to temporary, flashy or famous, previous model imitating community. You seem to be on a correct path for allowing real community to happen.

john jensen said...

greg would really love to talk to you more about your research and experience. We have been doing community work, more intentional as we go, for quite a few years but are always wanting to learn more.

Let me know how I can contact you, or you can email me at pinnedagain2001 at yahoo dot com


Gene Anderson said...

The "itch" as I like to call it, is...frustrating, prophetic, uncertain, compelling, authentic...all at the same time. Keep up your online presence, it is a blessing to so many folks. But as gbroughto wrote: "but in the social media world there are far too many Christian show ponies who have a slick website, high profile on fb and twitter and not much substance." Don't be one of those. As you venture forth, beware tradition, but don't wander off from your roots...they nourish your the Hebrew Bible kind of way. Blessings, brother!

gbroughto said...

a follow up thought...

my experience in Sydney's inner city over the last decade aiming for similar things was helped by the idea of sociologist Ray Oldenburg of "third" places (= outside of work and home where people gather). For disadvantaged people in the inner city, often the Christian community was one of the few 'safe' places to gather (apart from the 'street' - which was the natural gathering place, but also a very contested place vs. police, residents, shopowners etc).

More recently I have been stimulated by the idea of "middle-range" leaders and actors, which intuitively seems to sync with 3rd places.

John Paul Lederach describes middle-level leaders as

1. positioned so that they are likely to know and be known by the top-level leadership, yet they have significant connections to the broader context and the constituency that the top leaders claim to represent.

2. their status and influence in the setting derives from ongoing relationships - some professional, some institutional, some formal, others matters of friendship and acquaintance.

... they tend to have greater flexibility of movement and action

3. middle-range actors tend to have preexisting relationships with counterparts that cut across tribal alleigances within the setting

In sum, middle-range actors are far more numerous than top-level leaders and are connected through networks to many influential people across the human and physical geography

These qualities give middle-range actors the greatest potential to serve and to sustain long-term transformation in the setting

Sorry for the long rant, but I think we Christians usually only think in terms of 'local' or 'top-level' roles for the Christian community.

I reckon that 3rd place / middle range is where the action is!!!!

Ken Silva said...

"I should go ask Ken Silva what to do."

Hmm, switch to de-caf maybe?

Manu said...

Hey mate - speaking of living publicly - thought I'd let you know I just got elected to the Gisborne District Council. I polled third highest which I was pleasantly surprised about. I still remember that workshop we had at Tamborine Mountain and your comments that you wouldn't stand for office because you know it would feed your will to power (or something along those lines). I look forward to keeping in touch occassionally as I journey through this experience. I'm going to Hawai'i for a week tomorrow if you have any recommended people to connect with.