The main reason I have an ipod is so that I can listen to Krista Tippett. I'm usually several weeks behind schedule, but I don't care. She's always interesting. Today I was listening to her show about The New Monastics, featuring a lovely sounding young guy who started an intentional community in inner city Philly 10 years ago. It made me think about all the communities that have influenced me over the years: the Franciscans, Church of the Savior, Koinonia Farms, the Catholic Workers, Taize, Iona, the Sisters of Mercy. Each has influenced my thinking, sometimes even my acting. I've gotten to spend some time with a few of them. I thought, too, about the communities of which I've been an actual part: mostly small groups-- praying together, silent together, working together for social change or compassionate service. And then there are all the co-ops: supper co-ops, cleaning co-ops, food-buying co-ops, organic farm co-ops, babysitting co-ops, corn-burning stove co-ops. I loved those co-ops and I miss them.
Moving means losing community. I love my neighborhood. It's a co-op kind of place, but I'm not in with the crowd yet. Listening today, though, I realized that as much as I'd love another cleaning co-op or supper co-op, what I really want is someone who is willing to ask me if I'm following God's voice in my life. Someone who is willing to sit silently with me long enough to know the right question to ask. Someone who would want me to challenge and comfort them as well. Someone with whom to laugh and joke and know when to be serious. Or, even better, several someones.
I'm not talking church, exactly, though maybe an ideal church would do this. I'm talking something more intimate. The kind of friends who could check my bank account and see if I'm being accountable to my values. I've had moments of this in my life. It is a rare, exquisite, wonderful thing. (It can also be tedious and annoying, of course, because it's with people, not angels, and you know how we can be.) Still ...
So, virtual friends, what about you? Do you have the community you desire?