Monday, January 14, 2008

Making Gumbo

I find myself trying to explain to my Buddhist friend how I as a Christian feel about community. We go out to walk the dogs and sit down for a cup of tea and our conversation finds itself at a nexus of trail-heads, with cryptic signs hanging at absurd angles from old wooden posts. So the topic begins to wander and drift like a raft on a lazy river of Ceylon tea - and questions come up.

The thought of community has followed me around like a little white dog that won't go away. Sometimes I would love to be able to shirk of this jacket of need that I wear, and go it alone. The ergonomics of aloneness are perfectly logical. But I can't deny, I want you around. Sometimes where I can see you, sometimes just to know you're in the other room. Whoever you are, I'm addicted to you. And, no offense to the rest of you, but I really enjoy the company of Christians. Of people, that is, who perhaps don't see me as certifiably unhinged like the rest of the world does. You, my brother, my sister, are a draught of awakening. The anti-drug that un-numbs my eyes and ears, even when I don't want it that way.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Not "one man should sharpen another," but one man does. Inexplicably. Uncontrollably. You put two people together, and they become stones in a tumbler. They come together in kisses and left hooks. They are changed. And if their lives are wedded to the smile of the Christ, they are changed to fit a strange and storied pattern.

But sometimes we forget. Sometimes, there's far too much business to step into the rolling gumbo of community. Too much importance to get the spices on your tongue until your eyes water a little as your mind reels from the beauty of the calico taste of things thrown together. And just like alcoholics, we should never be alone. One alone is one who will return to his addictions.

I am blessed to have a group of siblings surrounding me who keep me accountable to quite a lot, mostly by their very presence and demeanor. It's difficult to remember to invade the space of your acquaintances and get to the messy business of making friends. It's much easier to ask how people are doing and be satisfied with a quick answer. It's easy to use the secrets of people you know to create juicy conversations in a sort of emotional masturbation, but it's harder to bear the trust of people and get involved in grief and in healing.

I don't know if I can say it enough. Do not forget each other. Do not forget each other. Oh, my loves, do not forget each other.

Love each other as I have loved you.


and Blogger Eric Moritz addressed the Senate...

Differences bring excitement to the Gumbo, as long as we're all open-minding enough, we can all enjoy the vast flavors of man-kind.

However there is that warm feeling when you "come home" and meet someone that comes from the same point of view as you. Like sipping from a warm cup of soup.

10:13 PM, January 14, 2008  

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