Monday, February 25, 2008

My new favorite Quaker

I'm reading Freedom of Simplicity by Richard J. Foster and it is wonderful! I'm so challenged and inspired and I love all the background he gives from the Old Testament.

For awhile now Kevin and I have dreamed of living a more simple, organic lifestyle (no, I'm NOT talking about eating organic food again.) What I DO mean is living in community with others and where we participate in and are active members of our city...where we can live and work and worship God and eventually where the kids can attend school. Right now the only things we do in our zipcode are sleep and shop. We live on the outskirts and save for the dear Gibsons and the owners of China Wok (yes the fact that Kevin is pals with this man is proof that we eat a bit of Chinese take-out), we don't know a soul. Pretty shameful.

Jesus was incarnational and we believe He wants us to be, too. How can I reach my neighbor when I'm apparently too good for their church or to send my kids to their school? There's certainly no one-size-fits-all answer to how/where/why you should live someplace, but as we talk about our future and hopefully come closer to a solution, we're weighing a lot of pros and cons and praying that God will make it clear what He wants from us.

What I'd love to hear from YOU is, how are you living in intentional community? For parents of transracially-adopted kids, what "organic" opportunities are there for your kids to interact with others of their race? Does this matter to you? To them?

(Oh and Richard J. Foster is a Quaker, which I think is so interesting!)


Rachel said...

That is exactly why we are going to church here in Castle Rock. We found a church we enjoyed in Parker, but I didn't want my kids to invite their friends to church in that other town they didn't live in!

Hmmm... my church is community focused and I help out with coordinating and upkeeping the community involvement database. I haven't been hands on with this yet,but now that I can be away from my kids wihtout them dying of hunger, I am excited to be part of it.

I plan on sending our children to our neighborhood schools. I have light friendships with my neighbors, know almost everyone by name on my street and the streets surrounding me. I intentionally talk to parents at the park, and have invited people to join a playgroup I host at my house. I occasionally host a playgroup for the neighborhood SAHM's and attend social events once a month with the ladies in the neighborhood. These are in no way my best friendships, but I am happy to have a working relationship with my neighbors.

I do live in a nice area, with a lot of part time working and stay at home moms, but very few of my neighbors regularly attend a place of worship. It is definitely a mini mission field. I hope the way I raise my kids and my integrity speak louder than anything that comes out of my mouth!

Jacquelyn said...

I think ideally, everyone needs to be a part of a local church, local school, local community - we haven't been able to do this yet and feel like we aren't a part of the local "grace slo" community or our local grover beach community. We also aren't a part of Phillilp's work community and we recognize that we are doing the best we can with this situation. The worst part of it is that I feel like I am not serving the people in our church since I don't know their needs or am the last to get on the sign up list. The other hard part is Zak's best school friend lives in Atascadero so we have never taken him home with us from school- or anyone else for that matter. -- a long comment but it has weighed heavy on my heart for quiet some time, I don't know that the solution is, so let me know when you come up with it!

Emily B. said...

We're still in the adoption process (doing our homestudy) but we wanted to find these same resources now so we're prepared later. Here are some of the things we've done:

1. We joined 2 local yahoo groups (one for AZ families adopting from Ethiopia and one for AZ families that have adopted transracially). They are both wonderful and have regular play groups, parents' night outs and even annual guest speakers. Author Rhonda Roorda just visited us on Saturday- check it out on my blog :)

2.We have already found possible babysitters from various ethnic backgrounds (check with your friends that are either HS teachers or college profs, they're probably great resources).

3.We started to go to our church's Sunday evening (teen) service instead of in the AM because it is much more diverse (and social! they serve pizza and soda after instead of donuts and coffee so people stand around and linger longer).

Just some ideas :) Good luck!

cathy said...

Brianna--you are wise beyond your years! You amaze me. We are VERY intentional about being involved in our community. Public school all the way! Our neighborhood school, too. Is it the best? No. Are my kids the ONLY children of color there? Absolutely not. Are they meeting people from all walks of life and backgrounds? You bet.

I am Katy, said...

Here's a great way to connect with other moms and their kids in our area:

I wish we lived in a smaller community where all those things you talked about would just be the way of life for all the community members. Sometimes our town feels way too big for me and has too many choices.

BTW- I'd love to get together for a playdate sometime.

shell said...

I just started reading Richard Fosters "Prayer" book this week! He is an excellent author.
We try hard do be involved in our community (play cards with neighbor ladies 1x month, hang out with neighbors, play groups, etc). I have learned to try and say yes to an situation, even if i dont want to go. :) It is SO undiverse here, so that is hard. I have no answer for that, just to keep up good conversations at home. Try to visit bigger cities, remind them that they are children of GOd.

Kristen Borland said...

okay, i think i want to read that book. we have gotten pretty involved in our new church (in our city), but don't do a whole lot with the community. i'm hoping to change that soon. how i wish we could just live in a tiny community (and bring our church with us), in a suitable house, where we can grow more food and have animals to live on, in a pretty area, where we can just walk out the door and take a nice walk in the country. sigh...

Steve and Jenn said...

We built a house in a new neighborhood, and prayed for God to place around us those whom He willed. As the houses filled up with families. I did the 1950's thing: brought a plate of goodies and a note. (not realizing that only 1/2 of the neighbors could speak- let alone read in English-oops!) Anyways, there are over 30 children on my street and I started hosting a 1x month "Kid Day." They play with my 3 and 4 yr olds and some organized game or craft, then a Bible time. Halloween has been a huge moment each yr as we talk about being scared, and how God takes care of us. So, your neighborhood, your street, your home: these are where God has placed you and you can make a difference with His guidance!


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