Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Dear Future Chris.

Dear Future Chris,

It’s past your bedtime yet again.  

Will you gently (so no one gets hurt) lay down the questions that you carry with you so deeply in these days (What is next year about? What is God’s call on my life? Who will I be doing life with? Where’s my partner? Who is my team? What is my role and function? What am I gifted in? Where is my heart stirred? Is there (finally) a place that God is calling me to? More than one place? What role or function can I play in leading a team?  In serving with a team?  Will spiritual formation and direction play a central role in my contribution? Will I live near good surf? Am I to return to America?  Is the next season of my life outside the US? What about my closest friends and family? How do I invite them into what is swirling around my heart?).  It’s ok to let things breathe, lay fallow, and rest for awhile.  You need rest.  You need fun.  You need relaxation.  You need to surf!

God has been–is–and will be in control.  He clearly called you into this apprenticeship, and has been intimately involved in everything in your life.  Why would He abandon relationship now?  It’s time to enjoy the present moments–warm afternoon winter sun, shadows dancing on your curtains, an epic Billabong Pro J-Bay contest, new friends, teaching formation stuff to a willing crew at 3rd Place, good food always.  You are being taken care of.  Rest in me–today.

I love you, even when you are crazy and neurotic,

The Chris of Today

Submission Makes Me Weary.

Our community has hosted innumerable guests and visitors over the past 6 weeks, and is in the midst of transition with various families (Crawleys!) staying and moving on at the end of this year (Stewarts and Wards).  Talking with Bryan Ward this morning, there was a mutual sense in which we realized that as we finish up the Inviting Posture of learning, moving into the later half of our year, these past 6 weeks have been very fractured, distracting, and all over the place in terms of content, process, experience, etc.  

So, as we sat down collectively just now to read Foster’s chapter on Submission (from Celebration of Discipline), there was a collective sigh that emerged from almost all of us in thinking about this particular topic.  Foster himself addresses this very sigh in the first sentences of his chapter, acknowledging that ‘the human species has an extraordinary knack for taking the best teaching and turning it to the worst ends’ (p. 137).  

As I wearily began to read this chapter just now, I sat for a moment opening up to just how tired and weary I felt, particularly in regards to the nature of submission (at its root, submission is actually about self-denial, and the freedom that is found in celebrating the needs of others before one’s own self).  And I realized something in light of the fact that we are hosting several other groups (Intervarsity, EI Interns, a few Road Trippers) in the next few weeks, which I actually am surprisingly excited about given how much hosting we’ve done the past few weeks (Sam Metcalf and crew, the President of CRM; Rob and Lori Yackley, the NieuCommunities Director; Andy and Julie Silk, video/camera gurus at CRM; various local guests, massive Staff Appreciation Dinner and (separate) 4th of July party for our wider community).

Although my natural tendency (and I think, our communities temptation in light of hosting a lot recently) is to pull away and focus on my own needs, the example of Christ–and the invitation for my own life–is surely to take care of myself, and to pull away to rest and restoration–and yet, to continue extending my own hands outward, even as this posture ends.

Of course, just then a few of Foster’s words nailed me:

“Life in community is our rightful home: relationships with other human beings are our inheritance.  To confess our commitment to community means to confess our commitment to mutual subordination” (pp. 152-153).

Even in the midst of wanting to pull away, I am invited to lean inward.  Even as I wish to disengage, I want to be known.  In fact, acknowledging our collective weariness (on all facets) is probably much of what ‘needs to be known’ right now.

This feels inviting.