What do I really know about community, anyway? I guess if there is one thing I aim for, it is to awaken people to the power of absolutely ordinary experiences… shared as community. It’s not about me… it’s about all of us and what we share together.
I went up to talk to Ken, one of the pastors at the Bridge. He has built some wonderful relationships with those in Portland who “don’t live in houses.” I wanted to talk to him about the beginning processes of starting a vibrant community. I usually end up expressing to folks that the thing that gets me most is the “slowness.” “Slowness! That’s the point!!” Ken said. “You will be an instant success in maybe four or five years… You have to do things that are completely un-extraordinary. Don’t do anything special or spectacular. This is how you will be legendary.” He went on to say that so many churches out there are trying to do extraordinary things. It is getting tiring for people. We just have to be normal and engage people where they are at with the absolutely normal things of life.
This really woke me up.
We get very caught up with the “high” experiences, whether we are religious or not. Burning Man, festivals, ceremonies, church services, the weekend parties, holidays… the list goes on. When we are always “looking forward to…,” we forget to look at what’s happening right now. When we are always “planning for…,” we forget to see what’s going on around us. I’m not saying that we should avoid the former, but the former should not over-balance the later.
Much of my efforts in connecting the community are about holding space for the normal. The community meals, the dialogs in circle, tool libraries, community gardens, and coffee dates. When these become special and enough, we begin to see the Divine working all around us. We don’t need anything more than what we have. We are able to LIVE into the world we want to see transformed into.
What are your sacred ordinaries?