Our plan is to start an intentional Christian community in Tarime, Tanzania. Around this time last year, I figured I should live in an intentional community before starting one, and that’s how I wound up at the Bonhoeffer House here in Dallas.
I thought this would be an easy few months, and that I would leave a lasting positive impact on this community, since I was “already so good at this”.
As it turned out, I was not to be the change-er, but the change-ee. In my short life, I have never grown so fast in a nine-month period.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing what I learned about myself, what I learned about intentional community, and what I learned about sharing the good news of God’s kingdom through word and deed, together with a whole motley crue of folks, attempting to keep company as diverse and disreputable as Jesus himself did.
After I had been here for about six months, I was talking with another member who lived in the house (on this stretch of sidewalk, actually):
Friend: I feel like we haven’t been helping you with preparing for Tanzania. I mean, it’s looking like you can’t go back in February, right?
Me: Well, yes, but that is because I have learned that I am not yet ready to lead an intentional community. And I really appreciate y’all helping me to see that.
Friend: Ah. Why do you say that?
Me: Um… it’s like… well, when I moved in here, I thought I was ready to lead my own community… like, I had this picture in my head of the people who I would be leading. And I was ready to lead them. Then, I moved into community with three real people, not the fake people in my head. And man, community is a lot harder with three real people than it was with the fake people in my head. I’m really glad I learned that from y’all, rather than trying to lead a community when I wasn’t ready yet.
Friend: Hahahahaha yeah. Everything is harder with the real people than with the fake people.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of what I learned about doing community with real people; the title means “real people”. I hope that some of what I say will be valuable to y’all too. Your feedback is welcome.