Friday, March 4, 2016

Ministry of Reconciliation and Living in Community

I read this post that talks about ministries of reconciliation and making all things new.  I would love to find a ministry of reconciliation that makes everything stable.

There was a moment yesterday during a flurry of e-mails when I stopped to consider how difficult the work of community building is.  Or maybe difficult is the wrong word.  Time consuming comes to mind.  Cyclical also comes to mind.

It's something they don't teach in youth groups or other leadership training groups.  No one ever says, "You will have difficult conversations and move to stages where community is stronger.  And then, 2 months later, you will again have to have difficult conversations which will strengthen your community.  Some of those conversations will be exactly the same two months later or six months later or three years later."

I understand why people decide that community building is just too hard.  I have more sympathy for the U.S. Congress than most people might have.  I understand the frustration of having to get along with all those people and how many of them must have decided to just be done with it.  I also understand why no leader has emerged who can do or even wants to do the work of bringing that particular community together.

I understand why people want to leave their jobs, their families, their churches--the work of reconciliation is so cyclical that it's easy to believe we're making no progress, that life would be better elsewhere.  Some times, of course, that's true.  But we often forget that we will be taking ourselves with us wherever we go.  We will be building community with quirky humans no matter the setting.

I've written before about the variety of spiritual gifts we see, and how we value some more than others.  Clearly we live in a society where we desperately need more people who can do the hard work of reconciliation and then stay rooted to keep doing that work.

I wonder if there's a way to train more of us to be ministers of reconciliation.  I predict we will need much reconciliation in the months and years to come.

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