December 9th, 2005


Community and other stuff

Worked a bit late last night, so dropped in on a shared meal at Nathan's. It's a tradition he's starting up on Thursday nights, just a standing time for an open table and plenty of food for all comers. While I doubt it will be a regular part of my routine (by the end of day Thursday, I usually just want to go home, and these kinds of gatherings invariably involve talk of work in addition to more people-time), it's a really nice idea. Yesterday's attendance was small, just four of us, but delicious food and a welcome break en route home. Since I didn't make it to Community Group this week, it was also good to catch up with Anne and Nathan.

Some great talks all over the place yesterday about community. It's one of the buzziest of buzzwords, and I think lots of us can hide our other stuff behind the concept, using it to mask more selfish desires. For example, we may shy away from the possible self-centeredness within a statement like, "I'm not having my needs met," but when it's rephrased as "We're failing at building community," it suddenly becomes more acceptable and even noble-sounding. Still, many times it's just crap. For the Christian, community is broader than what we've often meant by the word. It calls us out of ourselves, which is very different from siloed "ministries" for demographic groups (youth, singles, young marrieds, and other Christianese jargon that makes me shudder). And though we say we want community, we often aren't ready to buck up the cost of really having it. There's a big gap between who we think we are relative to this desire and who we really are. Community becomes much more possible if we're willing to admit that.

My major non-work accomplishment of the week was setting up a new TiVo with a DVD burner (the price I paid was around a quarter of the price they list). Networking everything is pretty slick now that it's all done, though it had its hurdles. Beyond that, I like the idea of just being able to burn something to DVD if I want to show someone or keep it longer.

Really not much of a writer lately. One of the contributing factors is that I haven't been grounded in any devotional reading (after bagging out on an Advent devotional that clearly wasn't written with any kind of maturity or thoughtfulness in mind). Without that stirring, it's hard to pin down much beyond the day-to-day (which is often boring to write, let alone read). So maybe I should address that—I'd be the better for it, regardless of writing.

The elegant solution

Think I've conquered the next in the Christmastime hurdles: what to give my family. Since I wasn't planning to go to Iowa near Christmas until recently, I hadn't really given it any thought. Since that's changed, I've been trying to figure out the gift end of things. Everyone, my parents especially, are OK with no gifts (or say they are), but I'd rather give. And gifts for the nieces and nephews are easy and fun to figure out—it's the adults that are the chore.

In thinking of my resources and what everyone would enjoy, it occurred to me that I still have the DVD camcorder I won earlier this year. I know Steve and Becky would love something like that, especially for the kids. I'd love it, too, because then I could get DVDs of the kids as they grow up. My parents, however, don't have a DVD player, which at first seemed like an obstacle but is really an opportunity—camcorder for the sister and brother-in-law, DVD player for the parents, and we have a new way to stay connected as a family, too. I love the elegant solution, especially when God has so clearly provided within it.
  • Current Music
    Steven Curtis Chapman, "Precious Promise"
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