September 20th, 2009


Safe places

Did a fair amount of settling in yesterday, spurred in part by the fact that we're hosting the other Community Group leaders for dinner this evening. Feels good to have a bit of art on the walls again, and barlow_girl has a great eye for where things should go.

Had to bail on an evening full of plans Friday because we were just too wiped out to make a go of it. Glad we can do that when we need to.

Thursday's communitygroup was a little tough—we had a visitor who behaved in some ways that weren't respectful to others, which wound up being fairly disruptive and uncomfortable. That's one of the risks of having "open" groups, and I'm glad we take it. There's tension between fostering a safe place and being welcoming to whomever may come, and I don't thing there's a singular right answer to navigating that. For my part, I think the possible disruption is one of the risks we take on Jesus, and we try to deal faithfully with whatever comes out of that risk. It doesn't make us doormats or hostages to others' behaviors, however, and we'll be sure some boundaries are expressed before our visitor is welcome to return. It'll also be good to talk about what happened with the rest of the group so people can express what they need to, so we can listen to one another, and so we can be clear on what some of our boundaries are and why we take the risks we do.

As with so many things, it's very tempting to try to manage and lock down everything about how the church relates to one another and the world. That doesn't line up well with church history as we know it from Scripture and onward, however, so we either need to conclude that our differences result from being in a different cultural moment, or we need to leave room to take more relational risks, recognizing that our security is in Christ alone. That doesn't mean being boundary-free or having shepherds who do nothing to protect their flocks—by no means. But we can't make following Jesus together completely "safe" by every individual's measure of safety. That's weak sauce, for sure.