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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: Deep Thought Thursday ~ Hidy Ho, Good Neighbor!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Deep Thought Thursday ~ Hidy Ho, Good Neighbor!

On Monday I had talked about Shane Claiborne and the Potter St. community. Today I want to talk about what community could look like. Not everyone is going to have neighbors that would want to cooperate, but I think community should be all about sharing possessions. It would cut costs for everyone. I touched on this a little on Monday when I was talking about sharing a lawnmower. Share your food, vehicles, time, abilities, etc. To live this way we'll need to avoid issues such as greed and jealousy. If vehicles are going to be shared it needs to be discussed how things will be handled if a vehicle gets damaged. The same should go with other shared things to avoid placing blame. Get to know your neighbors well enough that you could trust them enough to babysit for you if you need a night out. Be sure to return the favor in some way. It may be difficult to live this way, but personally I think it is a better way to live and build relationships with others. It will take a lot of trust and patience to do this, and no, it's not a perfect way to live. At times it may seem inconvenient, but life isn't about convenience.

On Monday I said that Shane Claiborne chooses to live a life that many of us cannot. My friend Jesse commented:

In all reality, I think many of us CAN live this way, and will have to before long. The cold hard fact of the matter, in my opinion, is that we are going to have to live like Shane, the question is, are we going to do it now, on our own, or be forced to do it later?

He brought up a good point and what I meant by saying many of us cannot live this way was that many of us would rather not choose to live this way. I know I can't, not right now anyway. It would be difficult to jump right into living the kind of life Shane does. I've been taking baby steps though and it's been a process of focusing less on me and focusing more on others, by trying to be a little greener, and finding more opportunities to serve God. I still have a long way to go though. Jesse also commented:

Think about it. With the recession supposedly getting worse and worse lasting well into next year (I doubt this will be the last one in our lifetimes), population out of control, famine, water shortages, war...the world seems pretty unstable and scary. What I mean to say is, as Shane puts it, the world can't afford the American dream.

The so-called "American dream" has become such a nightmare for so many people. The American dream has become something that's all about the self, about getting everything you've ever wanted by stepping on others. I'm not saying people who are financially wealthy are all self-centered and greedy, but many are, and they've gained their wealth through selfish and unjust means. Then there are people like Rick Warren who I don't know much about, but I do know that he gives away 90 percent of what he earns. That's amazing! Sure, he's rich he can afford to do it, right? I'll be honest and say that I'm not at that point in my life where I feel I can give 90 percent away, but I don't think that being rich has anything to do with that kind of generosity.

Think about it, we were born completely naked, we came into this world with absolutely nothing except for two eyes, a nose, and 1,998 other parts (according to Lever soap). Everything we have has been given to us by God, it all belongs to him. Some might say "Nuh-uh! I work for my money! I've earned it with my own two hands!" Who gave you those hands, who formed you in the womb? God gives us everything we've ever had and doesn't demand we return anything to him, but he does encourage us to take what he has given us to use it for his kingdom. Our money, our time, and our talents. That's where the sharing and giving comes in to play. And let us not give just because God says it is good to do so, but let's feel good when we give. Give cheerfully, because even if you give and then complain about it, it still means you're selfish. Yes, harsh but true. I've been there, and I still go there sometimes. There are still times when I give reluctantly and I need to get over it.

I watched a film by Akira Kurosawa called "Dreams". It was a collection of eight short films, each about 15 minutes long. I'm going to show you the final story in that film. I found it on YouTube in two different parts. It's called "Village of the Water Mills". Turn down the lights, get some popcorn and enjoy!

Part One

Part Two

When I watched this film I thought to myself, "What a peaceful place, I want to live there." I think it's appropriate that the film is called dreams. Perhaps what was shown in the film should be the new American dream. I don't know how long I could live like that though. I've grown up in a culture with too many unecessary convieniences. My favorite part of that film is where the traveler makes the point that it gets very dark at night and the old man points out the obvious, so funny. I really do want to learn to live like that but it will take time and I don't know if I'll ever quite get to where the old man in the film is, but like I said before, I'm taking baby steps. By the way, if you watched the clips, how many of you have the song from the funeral procession stuck in your head? Good luck getting that out of there. Come back tomorrow and we'll finish up the week.

To end this post I want to challenge people who think being alone and doing everything on your own is the best way to live by reading this:

There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
"For whom am I toiling," he asked,
"and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?"
This too is meaningless—
a miserable business!

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
(Ecclesiastes 4:8-12)

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