years ago, in a rare moment of insight, i posed a question to professor windham. "why," i openly wondered, "hasn't anyone rebuked my sinful idolatry of independance and called me to a life of dependance?" "i suppose," he replied, "that is a lesson you have to learn yourself." i understood his answer, but was frustrated with the implications, for i doubted dependance was something i could learn from a book.
although the latter assumption was correct, i lucked out by finding a wonderful pedagogue in l'arche. the community at l'arche taught me to: seek the spirituality of cleaning toilets (i still find it easier to connect with God when i am scrubbing toilets than when i am sitting in a pew), search for the charism (or unique gift) in the other and discover that it is in serving the least that our own needs are finally served. after serving at l'arche for two months, they asked me to extend my stay to two years. i seriously considered staying, but ultimately chose to return to the states for seminary at the South Hamilton Institute of Theology.
it was the biggest mistake of my life.
i exchanged life in a community that was teaching me the way of Jesus for an institution that was committed to teaching me about Jesus. i cannot tell you how many hours i have spent lamenting this decision.
but God is gracious.
i was reminded of the latter fact as Anita (our wonderful housemate) and i sat in our basement and discussed the mission of the church, the mysterious ways of the Kingdom and our hopes for our little community's future while the bio-diesel processor did its thing. somwhere in the midst of our rambling yet reverent conversation, i mentioned to Anita that living in the context of community has taught me more about the gospel of Jesus than any class in seminary ever did, for the community is constantly: challenging me to release my idol of space so that i can welcome outsiders with open hands, reminding me that listening is one of the primary arts of leadership and teaching me how to adequately share and appropriate the resources that God has given me.
over the past three and a half years, i've helped plant and provide leadership to a ragamuffin collection of sinners and saints that is constantly seeking to listen to God's Word, celebrate his sacraments and incarnate his compassion and love throughout the world...and i'm so proud of our church and glad that God has let me be a part of it. however, i'm beginning to wonder whether living in the context of an interdependant community that is learning to love God, love one another and spread God's love throughout our community is the most important thing i, scratch that, we, will ever do.
so thanks for listening and responding to my question professor windham. i'm still trying to learn.