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.