Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And Here We Go.

So I've got this friend. Once she was my housemate, my fellow traveler, and in those conversations on porches and in hotel rooms, my heart carved out a place for her to stay. Our roads have diverged here and there, but always, she was one whose love and grace was bright, even on the darkest nights. This isn't just flattery. This is my telling you that I want you to meet her, hear her.

Lore (or as I call her "Lo") Ferguson and I did a whirlwind brainstorm and decided we wanted to chatter a bit about some things on our hearts. Her writing voice is beautiful and true, and has a way of sticking to your ribs in the best way possible. So we decided to swap blog locations and do a mini-series. For the next week or so, she'll be blogging here and I'll be blogging here (at her blog). I hope you can join us at both locations as we look at the word that is on everyone's buzz list these days — community.

I sent Lore a few questions, and she sent me a few to answer as well. My answers are posted over at her blog.

Here's Lore:

Andrea: Why community? What does that word mean to you?
Lo: When I think about community, I think about the garden, in the beginning, when God's people walked with Him. I think about communing with God and communicating that to others. Commune means to be in a state of intimate, heightened sensitivity and receptivity, and that's what I want to have with the people both near to me and, as much as possible, with people who are far from me geographically. 

Andrea: In your mind, what's the fruit of a healthy community?
Lo: I think it's two-fold, but one word: growth. I say two-fold because I think healthy community fosters both internal growth as well as external growth. When we are growing people internally, this shows externally, and the result is that our community grows both internally as well as externally. So we grow deep as well as out. 

Andrea: What do you think is an obstacle to creating really healthy relationships with people in the church, and outside of the church?
Lo: I think the sense of entitlement that especially our generation seems to have. We feel entitled to our space, time, food, home, belongings, and we've been taught that it's okay to feel that way. You gave in this area, so your reward is time to yourself in this area. You paid for this item, so you ought to hold it close and carefully.The truth is that we are not entitled to anything, and any blessing we have is just that: a blessing. It's been entrusted to us so that we can steward it to the blessing of others. Simply. 

Andrea: What would you tell someone who said "man is an island. i don't need anyone"?
Lo: I would ask how that's working for them? I think we need times of rest and sabbath, to slow down and take time to reevaluate our commitments and allegiances, but I think any time we begin to throw around phrases like "I need my space" or "I'm shy and an introvert" we need to be considering whether or not we're producing fruit living like that. This isn't about personality, it's about living a gospel-centered life, not a me-centered one. Are we really living a sustainable gospel-centered life? Are we thinking about future generations? We can't live by ourselves for long, we'll sink. 

Andrea: How does true community change the way you live your life?
Lo: Honestly? Ha! It keeps me humble. I wake up feeling humbled by the people with whom I get to share life; I go to bed thinking of the ways in which I could have blessed them more; I am constantly having to repent of and rethink the ways in which I relate to and love them. My life isn't my own and when I begin to think that it is, I tend to railroad people and blessings. Instead I try to be mindful of blessing them, and not grow frustrated with myself when I don't. It's an opportunity to be humbled by their love for me AND an opportunity for me to repent. 

Andrea: Any advice to people who want community, but can't seem to find anyone else to connect with?
Lo: The best advice I have ever gotten from anyone on how to build relationships is to be a "There You Are" person instead of a "Here I Am" person. In every situation, whether I'm comfortable with the people I'm around or not, I try to seek them out and find out who they are. Hear their story. Ask them questions. Create an atmosphere where they will feel comfortable asking me questions. This is sometimes very hard and there are always roadblocks, but we'll talk more about that soon! 

Posts start tomorrow!


  1. Andrea,
    What a great idea! I love that you are doing a mini-series with a friend. I've been struggling with community lately. . .I'll be tuning in.

  2. Amy — it's a struggle that's familiar to anyone who really wants it, I think. You're not alone in that boat. :)