Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Neighbourhoods and Community

7) I commit to the members of this community. I will connect one-on-one with every member of the household on a weekly basis. This will also require openness to invitations and inviting. ‘Connecting’ means: Separating a portion of time for each member of the household to have a conversation, growing in knowledge of the other person. I will also pray for every member of the household on a daily basis.
This is the second in a series of 15 posts on our house commitments and the scriptural basis surrounding them. You can read the first post in this series here.

I have fond memories of my neighbourhood as a kid. This has something to do with an aspect of my childhood that I’m not sure kids experience anymore. When my older sister was younger (probably about 3 or 4) she got introduced to another boy in our neighbourhood who we shared a backyard with. They began to play together often. This process happened enough times that by the time I was old enough to play with this group, there were 8 or 9 of us (depending on the time of year) who were a pretty steady group of friends. We became a tight community of friends and would play together almost every single day of the summer.

As we all got older though, things changed a lot. Because I was 4 or 5 years younger than most of our group, we were all in different life stages by the time we were out of elementary school. People moved out, kids moved away, and DINKs (Double income no kids) moved into the houses they left vacant. The community broke up, and they was nothing left to take its place.

This is a story that’s all too common in North America. Increasingly, neighbourhoods are stepping away from being communities, where people are approachable and friendly, and are moving towards being blocks of houses where people don’t interact.

Part of our commitment to each other is a nod toward this idea. We feel that all too often, we don’t interact with others in our communities (geographical or otherwise). We simply exist and any contact we do have with each other is superficial at best. I mean, how many times have you heard the exchange “How are you?” “Good” and the conversation stopped dead right there?

If we’re going to live together, we want to really know each other. We want to understand what’s going on in the lives of our housemates, we want to spend time with them, and we want to grow in understanding of them so that we might come to love them more fully. Our commitment to the members of our community is an expression of this idea.

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