by Eric Muhr
I have often longed for a different kind of life, imagining joy in the simplicity of communal work, worship and service. But is close-knit community the key to an integrated existence? What if my longing for meaningful connection is a symptom of internal rather than external division? If I have learned anything about myself, it is that I too often seek the easy way out of uncomfortable questions.
Sometimes, I choose not to use the gifts God has given because I’m too busy, don’t have the time, don’t need the hassle.
Sometimes, I commit to a cause for which I have no passion or calling.
Sometimes, I sit in silence rather than speak up for what is right. Rocking the boat gets everyone wet, makes the voyage unpleasant.
Sometimes, I ignore my own convictions (especially when they’re inconvenient).
Sometimes, I see all my faults in the people around me and choose to judge them rather than admit my own need.
These are real problems, not just symptoms. And they point the way out of my disconnectedness, the way back to who God created me to be. But I’m going to need help. The integrated life isn’t about being perfect. Instead, I have to be honest: about my weakness, about my failings, about my need.
This then is the kind of community I’m searching for: a collection of people, who can love me in spite of my weakness; and people who, because of their problems, need me.