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This Intentional Village

There was a time, not so long ago, when joining a church was the expected thing. That’s what happened with my parents. It was the 50s, and my older sister came home from her New Orleans public elementary school and wanted to know when was she going to start confirmation class? My dad had heard this Unitarian preacher on the radio – A. Powell Davies – offering to debate fundamentalists. So Dad called up the local Unitarian church and they started going there. Going to church. It was what you did.

It is a completely different world now. Especially if you’re under the age of 50, the expectation is that you don’t go to church. Why would you? You can get any information you want from the internet, your social needs can be met through your co-workers or friends.

And yet …

Every week, I see a village at work. No, not every week. Every day, because life doesn’t just happen on Sunday and the relationships aren’t limited to once a week. People come in, and realize they’ve found their tribe. They make friends with smaller circles within the church, friends who meet during the week to play games, do the work involved in keeping this little village running, talk and go deeper with their own growth. I see them taking care of each other. Loving each other through casseroles, babysitting, help with moving.

It’s not a perfect village. I’m not sure those exist, and if they did, I’m quite sure I wouldn’t qualify for membership. There’s never quite enough money, or workers, or time. We don’t get along harmoniously. We chafe at change. We disappoint each other.

And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be, in this great, old-fashioned, social experiment. We have rough edges, but somehow in our clumsy bumping around, we smooth some of them down. We learn how to say what we need. We learn how to apologize. We learn how to be who we are, and at the same time, allow others to be who they are.

I swear, you could make a Capra movie about this place.  With a little Richard Linklater thrown in.  


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