Within the intentional community I’m developing with some friends, a colleague introduced me to this thought exercise:
Imagine a perfect world.
Just take a moment and do that — the rest of what I’ve written can wait.
Hey, it’s easy to point fingers at (all?) the things that are wrong with the world. But we know that pointing out problems isn’t close to creating solutions.
And all too often, our attempts at solutions are incomplete — that is, they fix some things, and break others. And the more urgency we feel, the more likely that’s true. And yet we have impetus to create and build.
So what are we trying to build?
What would it look like if it were perfect?
We have all of history and human imagination by which to draw values. Ultimately, it seems like the greatest of all values is love.
So then, what if what we were building was a thing where all you did was debrief attempts to love that did and didn’t work, and ponder about why and why not?
These stories would spill our best efforts to love strangers, those closest to us, even ourselves. It would reflect our greatest priorities back to ourselves, celebrating them in all their complex unpredictability.
These are real stories — they fill all of our genres, but we are not often encouraged to tune into our own stories, perhaps because they’re not larger than life, and didn’t take $800,000,000 to make.
This project would be funny, heartbreaking, real and true.
And going one level deeper, it means teaching others this approach, so that they can use it, and have richer relationships. And going another level deeper, it’s about teaching them so they can *teach* it, so that other people’s lives are enriched.This keeps going. And growing.
And this is why I’m so frustrated with the church. Because it got caught up on a few thou-shalt-nots, and set up camp.
And camp turned into a town.
The town turned into a city.
And the city into a nation, propped up with industrial and political systems which should never have existed, which facilitate the worst traits of human nature.
Because it was never supposed to be about making new thems, it was about making a much bigger, much better, much more resilient *us.*
And ultimately, that is what we should be making. Not an imposing order to which we conscript everyone, or a mould into which everyone must fit. Rather it’s the us that people are eager to belong to, and contribute to — a mould of which is malleable to meet them.
There really isn’t a limit to the depth of the welcome.