15 March 2010

Further thoughts on Community

Crystle and I talk about community a lot. We talk about a lot of other things, too (friends do that, after all). But when we talk about community, what I like best is that she "gets it" when I talk about how community can be so much of a blessing and yet also so much of a challenge. The community she is a part of (the Kirkendell Cluster) is very different from mine (Oudezijds 100); yet the nitty-gritty hard work of community is present in both. The challenges of communication, healthy growth, good accountability, and making space for each other all appear in some form or other in each of our communities. Alongside of that, of course, are the problems each of us bring to communities - our impatience with processes that take too long or appear never to get better, confusion and frustration with people who are so different, and our own insecurities that exclude both ourselves and others (to name only a few of the problems!).

When I bemoan all these challenges of community with Crystle, I not only feel understood (which is nice), but I also feel like I'm given new strength to continue the struggle to do community well. It's like by expressing myself to someone who understands, it clears away some of the grime that prevents me from seeing how God is working in and through community to bless others and myself.

Crystle, in a recent blog entry, put it quite similarly. The following is a short excerpt from her thoughts. (the full entry can be seen here: http://cdn.gv.ca/2010/03/12/learning-how-to-interact-with-others/

"Living in community isn’t a walk in the park. Whether you’ve been at it 2 years or 50 years, it is still critical to
* communicate to build relationships, and
* know your own expectations, and know the expectations of others.
Conflict will inevitably result if we fail to continue to work on these....

The reward [of working on these things]? Conflict won’t fester into feuds. Unconditional commitment means others will support me when life gets tough. Being known and accepted by others for who we are. Ability to work with others towards a better future.

I think that’s worth the hard work."

last note from brenda: me, too (even if I sometimes forget).

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