A few weeks ago, in a home in the Golden Hill area of San Diego, about twelve of us gathered for our first missional cohort. We spent the weekend exploring the ideas of listening and submerging as it relates to living in place, in a missional way.
I left the weekend encouraged, humbled, and filled with desire for us all to see the beauty God has for us in doing life with each other.
“The Place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
– Frederick Buechner
Believing in radical ideas like missional living (radical because of how few people practice, embrace, and are willing to live out such a lifestyle) is not easy. The inherent truths in such a belief is that community is central to life, so to exist with such strong convictions about community, alone, is decidedly lonely. To gather with folks from across the U.S. for a weekend and hear of struggles and triumphs in living out these ideas, is encouraging in ways that words can’t describe.
“It is not surprising that ultimately, the image of God should focus on community. As the doctrine of the Trinity asserts, throughout all eternity God is community, namely, the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who comprise the triune God. The creation of humankind in the divine image, therefore, can mean nothing less than that humans express the relational dynamic of the God whose representation we are called to be. Consequently, each person can be related to the image of God only within the context of life in community with others. Only in fellowship with others can we show forth what God is like, for God is the community of love – the eternal relationship enjoyed by the Father and the Son, which is the Holy Spirit.” (emphasis mine)
– Stanly J. Grenz
I’ve always struggled with patience. I just want things to happen now. I eat fast. I drive fast. I move fast. I make decisions fast. I do life fast. Do we have time to waste?! – Ah, time to waste, no. Time to patiently embrace humanity around me, around us, at a pace more palatable to them, yes.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to embrace this idea of patience. It would make sense that a first step to creating a context for people to live missionally and in community in the Point Loma/Ocean Beach areas would be to explore the community that already exists.
The soil we stand on informs the way we organize as a community.
Some folks from my cohort, Clayton and Jessica Connolly, live in Ocean Beach and are exploring the same ideas that I am. They are really rad people, living radically as God is moving them to. I had dinner with them and their three beautiful girls in the RV they have been living in, parked near Tower 2 at the beach in OB. I’ll share the full story of the Connolly’s in a future blog, because it is a testament to humility, and loving in the place you live. Clay and Jess introduced me to some other folks who are seeking and exploring the idea of living out faith and community in a missional way in OB.
Each person I’ve met with continues to expand this network of people in this small parish area of Loma/OB who want live life in community. Some of them are following Jesus, some of them are not. These are the people I need to know, these are the people that need to know each other.
I’ve been wrestling with the ideas surrounding missional living for four years. I’ve doubted to the depths of disbelief over and over again because it can be a lonely world. The fact that God keeps bringing me back continues to affirm that this is what is right for my life, and I think for yours too. Thank you for your continued support in every way as this story unravels. So many of you have reached out and affirmed my story, this movement, and the work that God is doing through it all. Some of you have doubts, are worried, and think I’m crazy; I want to hear from you too, by the way. I know that it’s hard to leave your web browser and open up Messages or Mail and shoot me a message… but I want to encourage you to do it, especially if you disagree, or have doubts, or questions.
The mission of God is reconciliation; and the vocation of God’s people is this reconciliation.
Continue to embrace and look for the unforced rhythms of Grace, my friends.