Good Monsters and Community
Today's readings from the Roman Catholic liturgy brought home something I've been thinking about for the past couple days. Here's what Jesus said in Matthew 7:
Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.
From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.
It reminds me of what Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay said about Tuesday's release, Good Monsters. For the cover story of CCM, he explained:
[Good Monsters is about the process of] maturing in a person's life, coming to grips with incredible good and incredible evil in the same body and being willing to share the bad parts and the good parts with others in the community.
This rings true in my life because the world of Christian community is exactly what I am joining. The past couple days we have been moving into a brand new house. With this move, we have about thirty people living within a block of each other. We're working on bringing "a new way to live" to the University of Minnesota campus. Central to our life is large amounts of common space and having as many daily meals as possible together. We have morning prayer and evening prayer. And we try to keep our lives on a common schedule.
This, I suppose, is a very radical form of community because we keep almost everything in common. But in a couple weeks, I will be joining a larger community. In two weeks I will be giving my life to Christian community. I will say that I love the people in the People of Praise so much that I am willing to bind my life with theirs. There is no fear that I will no like it or not want to be a part of it later in life; its exciting to be a part of the move of God's spirit.
Is there risks? Yes. Is it going to be easy? No. But all of us are "good monsters", are not perfect, but are still OK with that. The editor of CCM said in response to Dan's comments, "I'm certainly not mature enough to intentionally live my life out in community with the kind of humility, gentleness, and risk Dan's talking about. But I aspire to it." I'm not mature in many ways, but I'm deciding to live my life with others for good and bad.