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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Let's Party!


"Love community and you will kill it
Love your brother and you will build it"- D.B.

Have you planned a party that no one came to? I did once.

I got decorations, bought way too much meat (the only time I didn't buy too much meat is when we had the world famous seven meat BBQ which I am still stopped up from), and even sent out an e-vite. It was a cool e-vite too. It had a funny picture, a catchy party title, and was sent to over 40 people. When it came time for the party, I was ready to go. I looked good. I showered. Got my hairr did. I was ready to party.

Ding-dong. Who is at the door I wondered? Oh…it's Taryn. Of course she is coming. She is my wife.

Over the next two hours, four people showed up. Four. Out of fourty.

But I had done such a good job of planning the party! The e-vite was stunning. The decorations were shnazy. The stereo was blaring the hippest hipster tunes ("This is why, this is why, this is why I'm hot…"). This was a great party…for four people.

I threw a party to attend. But no one did.


I often wonder if we throw parties with no greater desire than to have a great party. I often wonder if we gather together for gathering's sake rather than for those we gather with. I often wonder if we enjoy the party, the event, the concert, the church service, and the festival more than those we attend the gathering with.

I often wonder if we love community more than our neighbors.

Another quote from another smart guy comes to mind.

"More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them….Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them." – H.N.

I begrudgingly admit that I struggle, just as Henri Nouwen does. Often times, my own desire is to throw a great party, plan a great service, or even simply to be a part of a dynamic community. But for what? For me? For my self interest? So that I feel that I am a successful leader, worship leader, or host? So that I do not feel alone or so that I grow in self worth? Come on Jarrod.

It is my hope that we can begin to value our brothers and sisters over the illusive concept of community. I hope that we can value the people at the party more than the party itself. I hope that we spend more time creating relationships than an e-vite. Only when we value one another over our needs being met will we experience the illusive community we desire.

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