Beginning Here

My lesson is that I shouldn’t want to go “there” to find my spirituality, but if I can’t find it “here” (with my local community) then I’m looking for some inspiration other than the Spirit who should, I would think, be working in everyone around me.”

The quote is by Paddy O, on a post by Emerging Grace. I wanted to draw it out because it is pointing to something that has been niggling at me for a while now.

Andrea and I do a lot of talking, thinking and reading about active faith, about ‘missional’ lifestyles. We discuss community living over, and over, and over again. These are subjects that we are constantly turning over in our own minds, and regularly talking about together and with friends. It is very easy for us, for me, to think that we should in some way leave our current church and friendships in order to seek the kind of lifestyle and praxis of faith that we’ve been talking about.

But then there is that niggling thought, that challenge that Paddy sums up so well. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. It is so easy for us to look at someone else’s situation and think “it was easier for them”. That if we only get in the right place, with the right people, that somehow things will run smoother, we’d find it easier to step out and do the things we’ve been dreaming of…

Paddy’s comment was on a post about conferences. I have been to a lot of Christian conferences. I have travelled to a lot of events seeking the ‘hit’ that will change me, that will catapult me into the life I want to be living (rather than the one I am). Surely, if I get that person to pray for me, or take on board this persons message, then I’d ‘get’ it, I’d be able to take the steps I’ve been incapable of so far…?

Yeah, right! Isn’t the limiting factor there… me?

The buzz phrase at the moment, in all the circles, seems to be ‘community’. Andrea and I want to be part of genuine intentional community. People who share faith; bear each others burdens; spur one another on to love and good works; care for the poor (the list goes on)… Yet as we look for that, long for that, it is so easy for our eyes to be looking a long way further than the people that surround us.

I shouldn’t be looking there for something I can’t find here.

I have some great friends around me. Our little gathering in the East End of London are an imperfect, broken bunch, but they are real friends who have come alongside Andrea and myself at a genuinely difficult time, and have stood along side us, been community to us. And many of them also want to see a more ‘intentional’ form of community develop, a more ‘missional’ lifestyle to grow… But that hasn’t stopped us looking over the fence, wondering about greener grass elsewhere…

Dave, Jacky, Fiona, Dan, Joanne, Aidan, Alison (and there are more). I love you guys loads, and I’ve been really blessed by knowing you and journeying with you. I pray that together we can slowly, imperfectly, limp towards the dreams God is beginning to place in our hearts…

Lord, help me to find here,
What I’ve been looking for there
Amen.

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