Tomorrow will be the first day of June and we have yet to use our air conditioning (except for home church nights and one weekend that we hosted a few guests). We have done everything we can to stay cool. We have drug the oven to the front porch so as not to produce heat in the house, we have put screens on every window so that we can have the house fully ventilated, and we have pretty much (by necessity) all begun taking quick and cold showers to cool off and rinse of all the funk, and we have all begun drinking more water. We are pushing ourselves to fore go this luxury for the sake of both our own formation as well as in protest to our consumptive and entitled culture that recklessly burns huge amounts of coal to keep our dens comfy. I thank God every time I see one of my sweaty and lethargic community members. They resemble the poor that I have seen throughout the world a little more each day. Yes, because they are hot and sweaty, because they can see air conditioning for what it is....Luxurious, and not a necessity. Each day they are a little more set free from their addiction to comfort. Each day they have to fight a little bit to keep going. Each day they get a little stronger as their conviction and discipline have to meet and wrestle a little deeper within. We have chosen creativity over compromise and I am proud of my guys and my gal. They are living as best as they know how in a way that they believe the world could sustain and I am in awe. It is an honor so sweat with them. I don't care what anybody says I know that sweating is spiritual.
May 31, 2011
May 05, 2011
May 04, 2011
I am preparing to leave within the next week and a half to go on quite a different adventure than the last couple years have provided me. I am nervous about this change. I do not like leaving because I know I will miss my brothers and sisters. I know the application of all I have experienced will be tried and I will have to toil in quite a different way. Living at the Lake House has been quite a different experience. Moving in I thought "How exciting. I'm living in community and experiencing a new environment with some of the most liberal Christians I have met. I can experience God in a new and more real way than I have before." And I did just that; it was awesome. In the beginning parts of me were pealed away. I have compared this to an onion. In the beginning I was challenged on parts of myself that I expected to be challenged on, the outer layers of the onion were pealed as expected. But then challenge and conviction came closer to the heart, parts of my life that were not up for grabs....they were mine to hold onto. And this hurt. Among all the joy and wonderful life that I have had living with these men, I have experienced the most convicting pain of my life. God stepped in and revealed things in my life that I had not even thought of. Areas of my life that were not as he wanted them to be. I dug my feet into the ground , the stubborn ass that I am. I would not move of my own accord, so I was dragged kicking and screaming through conviction and trial and purification. Goodness and righteousness is not a fairytale land , it is not even a place at all. It is a process of burning away the imperfections that exist within your life, most of which we don't even know exist. I thought myself much better than I actually was. And like any good refiner does, he heats up the metal that the imperfections may rise and be scraped away. This fairytale land of goodness that I thought would happen when moving into the Lake House was not the paradise that I had imagined. It became a fire that began a burning process that will continue throughout my life. It ignited, or maybe flamed a fire that began the refining process. God has taken parts of my life captive through these men and they have put up with my inaction, my fear and my stubbornness.
So, because of all of this, I thank them for allowing God to use them in this process. For not being afraid of staring me in the eyes and telling me I am wrong. I thank them for loving me in spite of the ass that I can be. I thank them for patience when all I want to do it flee the environment that hurts. I thank them for enduring the blame I have placed on them at times for the pain I cause myself. More than anything I thank them for allowing God to use them as a tool to help begin this refining process. So as I leave for the summer I pray that they will continue in the wrestling with God; that they will continue on this course of peeling away the layers of life that we have covered over ourselves in spite of the pain it may cause us. Continue to encourage, whispering into the ears of all those who are on the brink of running home to comfort that they were made for much greater and that should they endure the pain, God will bring peace into their lives in spite of the pain. Continue to be Barnabas to all those who are encountered, the sons of encouragement. Thank you for being my family, and I do love each and everyone of you.
And so to end this blog I must do what is expected and end with a quote by C.S. Lewis:
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."
May 02, 2011
Local Food, Sharing Groceries, and Creativity
So as my 100 mile food experiment has come to a close I realize that I am not excited to go back. I look at things around me in our house and just don’t want them. I don’t want to eat food that you unwrap and I don’t want oreos or soda or cake or cereal. At least at this point I seem to have a craving for the foods that I have been eating over the last month. It’s actually quite shocking. I knew I wanted to try to keep eating as locally as possible but never could have anticipated this strange aversion to foods that I have loved and craved. It’s just gone. So I kept my contribution to the houses food money back last month during the experiment so that I could get my own local food to eat. They were fine with that. But now the experiment is over and I need to contribute again and share groceries again. I do want to but am also conflicted about almost everything they normally get to eat. And that’s saying something because I live in a community that has a lot of food convictions already. They strive to find fair trade products and environmentally conscious products. I am still nervous because I read labels on packages and stickers on fruit. Over the last month I realized that all of the fruit that they eat comes from other countries all together (By the way I have nothing against trade with foreign nations but we just don’t need FOOD to travel like that) and all of the processed foods they buy are full of crap. There is nothing natural about Nature’s Valley. I want to share my convictions and continue to experiment with food and I also want to be sensitive to their wants and habits. I requested that my grocery contribution as well as Ryan’s contribution be set aside for us to take care of produce and butter. That means that at least we will get locally grown organic produce and real butter from a local dairy farm. They were game and I will purchase the food and eat it but will also see it used by the guys in the house as ingredients in their own cooking and recipes. As we discussed this option Robby brought up a really great question. Since local food is more expensive then how are we gonna balance this growing conviction with our core principles of hospitality and sharing? I really thought this was a great question for us to wrestle with. It’s one I could see myself asking if it was someone else making the request and I am really glad he put it out there for us to discuss. It is true that we will spend more on less food and it just isn’t enough to say God will provide (even though he always does.) We can’t be buying this food unless we are going to share it freely. We can’t buy food that we don’t have enough of. My response was that he is right but that we solve these problems by creativity rather than compromise. We are growing as much food as we can, I have places where I am looking to salvage ‘local trash’ (I don’t care where food came from once we start wasting it), and we also have a network of gardens throughout our community that we installed and can grow a row to supplement our grocery supply for meals we serve. There are ways for us to hold tight to both convictions rather that feel like they need to be pitted against each other. I am excited to learn new ways and I am excited to be a part of a family that is open to new ways. May God guide us.