This week, at our Sunday evening gathering, we will be asking the question,
“What does a community that offers a safe place, a place of discovery, for each other and others, matter to the world around us? To what end does our community amount to? Is the impact only for those who find themselves within our embrace?”
It seems to me that this question is such an essential question to the reality of our communities. It is so easy for us to gather together, have some laughs, share a few beers, eat some food, hike, run, bike, watch a movie and never consider the difference we might make to those in the world who are not directly apart of our circle of friends.
I just watched the panel discussion from The Seeds of Compassion event in Seattle this last week. You can find the link HERE… scroll down to Tuesday’s event on Youth and Spiritual Connection. Doug Pagitt , pastor at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, told a story (at the 3:40:00 and 4:00:00 marks) about he and his wife’s adoption of two foster children. “There is no better way,” he said, “to make a difference in the foster care system than to adopt children out of it.” He also noted that in a training session he attended, there was a man there who said that his way of showing empathy and compassion to the foster children in his care was to run warm towels from the dryer to the children so that when they got out of the shower they had warm towels to wrap themselves in. (If you have ever wrapped yourself in a warm towel you know how this feels)
When the people at Solomon’s Porch have a desire to pursue a certain passion or vision for the community at large, the question that is asked is, Do you know anyone who is already doing it? Do you know those who are out there wrapping people in warm towels? Find these people and work with them. There is no way to institutionalize this kind of face-to-face relational empathy… we must get our hands dirty with the business of knowing those we want to reach out to.