My New Community Adventure

 

An Update on Big Blue (June-Oct 2017)

I love connecting and developing people! Over the years, this passion has led me to help catalyze multiple communities among a diversity of people: adults with mental illness, clergy and church leaders, addicts and the HIV-positive, young families and youth, and everyone in between.

Over the summer, I embarked on a new adventure.  On Memorial Day weekend, Grace (my high school aged daughter) and I moved into a new home, a five-bedroom house that we are calling “Big Blue”.  We are about a mile south of our previous home and on the margins of the more hip and affluent areas of Oak Cliff.  The goal was to more fully integrate life and mission, my home and my work.

Over the last five months, here’s what has been developing…

Weekly Rhythms: While the house has a keypad lock on the kitchen door, with folks beginning to come and go at will, we’re living into three key weekly rhythms:

  • Every Friday afternoon, the house is open for happy hour!  Join us on the porch from 4:30pm until 6:30pm (this time is open to all).  Just remember: it’s BYOB and BYOC (chair)!
  • Tuesday evenings are for weekly community dinners.  A community of 12-15 regulars has come together over the last several months.  We eat and share life, have hosted some neighborhood events, and are excited to see what emerges in the days ahead.
  • On Sunday mornings, I gather with a few others.  For most of these folks, they’re seeking in their faith and/or lost confidence in the dominant models of church.  Therefore, we are learning to “be the church” together.  We typically spend a couple of hours in solitude – engaging private practices such as meditation, prayer, reading, and reflection – followed by a shared time of speaking out our leadings from God.

Roommates: In late August, my first roommate moved in, followed closely by a second in early September.  Both men are in a transitional time of life, seeking healing and desiring support for the journey.   With a 5 bedroom house, there’s still room for additional community residents.  If you or someone you know is interested, contact me for more information and/or a tour.

Neighboring: I’m committed to loving my neighbors by getting to know them and inviting them into my home.  Toward that end, I’ve hosted two events (a dinner in mid-September and a party on Halloween).  I’m excited to say that residents of the four closest homes have broken bread at my table.  As I continue to cultivate relationships with these new friends – Antonio and Sandra, Angie and Jose, Diana and her extended family, Ryan and Stephanie, and all the kids – I’m praying that I might be a real and practical embodiment of God’s love in this place and among these people (see John 1:14 and Luke 10:26-28)

Overnight Hospitality: In the last five months, I’ve hosted more overnight guests than in the previous 11 years at my old house.  The interesting and creative folk that I’ve entertained include an innovative pastor with the US Fresh Expression movement, an entrepreneurial young woman from south Texas who is connecting social impact leaders, an artist that leads soulful and creative retreats in China, and a campus ministry leader from OU.  In addition, Grace and I have also opened our house to friends in need – one of her high school friends spent the night in the midst of a family emergency, while several others stayed with us in the midst of a home remodel.  If you’re in need, RSVP today!  😉

I’m not really sure what will come of all of this.  But I do know that I’m having a good time in the process and feel pretty hopeful about the days ahead.