Tag Archives: Community Development

Global Community/ Local Service: An Asbury Service Learning Entrée

Global Community Development Mondays: Journal Entry 2.

Monday- June 14th, 2010: Garage Sale

Our next phase in the transformation of the garage included a garage sale to 1. get rid of a number of items that we could no longer use, and 2. make a few dollars in the mean time that will go toward the refurbishing of the garage.

We started with an all-day prep on Friday.  10 volunteers showed up throughout the day, though one intercultural moment particularly caught my eye.  We rented a dumpster (now just about full) for the weekend.  At one point we had four men carrying a monster of an air conditioner long dead to the dumpster.  Two hands belonged to a Kenyan, two to a Zimbabwean, two to a Ugandan, and two to an African American.  As we continue to search for beloved community, I saw a sparkle in that moment and watched the community grow closer as they participated in something as simple yet profound as a shared mission to clean up a garage.

The next day brought about 40 community members to Cox’s in search for treasures and furniture’s we were selling.  We made, in total, $111.00.  Though not our goal of $200, there were a few elements of the day simply priceless.  The sale itself brought together our local community and our global Asbury Community.  Not only were the patrons given a chance to mingle with folks from Korea, Kenya, and Singapore, but the event allowed for peoples from all social classes to connect.  We ate lunch after with the totality of our volunteers (about 8 in total), and again every social class (except of course the wildly rich) were present.  As I will continue to testify, the energy at Cox’s has the power to divide our community and the power to bring us together.  It also contains the most intercultural potential I’ve seen on campus.

One conversation stood out to me the most.   There was a North American, Kenyan, and African American standing together helping oversee a portion of the sale.  Their conversation started in small talk but led to a robust discussion on initiation rites and manhood.  The two North American men lamented about the lack of initiation rites in the US while the Kenyan man reflected on his 2 month wilderness passage and how it laid out the expectations for manhood very clearly.  Though it was just one conversation, it represents hundreds of conversations I’ve heard over the course of five years.  While we can have these conversations over lunch or as we walk together, I have witnessed these intercultural interchanges as a usual circumstance when our global community finds herself in shared local missions.

The Mission Continues: every Monday, including tonight (October 4th) 3.30-5.30pm,   at the Global Community Development Center, next to Cluckers.

Who is the Bride of Christ: Part 3

The image of the church as Christ’s bride contains striking implications.  It smacks of purity, chosen-ness, beloved-ness, togetherness, mutual reverence, and more.

Take for example:

Ephesians 5:31 “Husbands love your wives just as Christ  loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

With all my newfound responsibilities, the 30 minute devotional was bankrupt for me.  I had to discover a new way.  So, along side my then 3 years working with students in the areas of mercy and justice and global community, I enrolled in an academy for spirituality and encountered the thinking of Father Adrian van Kaam. Father Adrian was set to graduate from his Roman Catholic seminary six months prior to the Nazi occupation of his home in Denmark.  He spent seven long and hungry months sheltering and caring for terrified Christians, Jews, and Atheists from all walks of life.  That experience convinced him that our world needed and would need a practical spirituality that translated across many barriers for the sake of the gospel and rooted in the ancient 2000 year old Christian tradition.

For missionaries to North America and for Community Developers, life is never easy.  They have been called into some of the deepest issues possible.  And in the darkest alleyways they gain the blessed realization that God was there first. He has been working on the toughest issues long before they arrived.  And it is with him there that they find our motivation, the relationship, and the the willingness to go on.  Yet, what happens when they cannot sense him?  What happens when they feel that he has abandoned them? How does a missionary avoid spiritual burnout? How does a Community Developer tap into a holistic spiritual life, rather than simply trying to beef up his or her life of devotions?  How can we tap into the 2000 years of spiritual teaching that widens our view from isolated practices to a whole-life spirituality that leads us back to a quiet time like a thirsty deer to abundant streams?  How can we say “yes” to the bridegroom who is calling his beloved even in the ugliest of moments? That’s what this blog is about.

Global Community, Local Service: An Asbury Entrée

Global Community Development Mondays: Journal Entry 1.

Monday- May 31st, 2010

This past Monday represented the initial phase of our mission.  27 community members showed up to Cox’s (Future Global Community Development Center) to help prepare its infrastructure for our fall launching.  I was pleased to see the international makeup of our shared missions with diverse representation from Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Europe, and North America. It was truly a global gathering.

Except for next Monday, we will meet every other Monday in the summer to begin gathering our global community in shared local missions.

Last Monday, in particular, we were able to pack up and move all but a few linens, dishes, and cookware over to our Turkington unit.  These items needed a better shelter.  We hauled 5 truckloads of materials.  Next steps include organizing the Turkington unit as a sort of storefront, completing the inventory, setting aside at least 10 household setups worth of items, getting the linens bagged up, organizing the furniture, prepping for our garage sale on June 5, and preparing the west bay for meeting space.  I expect this to take most of the summer, so that the space is ready come September to network the community in shared missions.

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Now, in the end of September, I am so happy how this has all gone.  We finished the setup u. 40 came this last week. We helped out a local restaurant owner decorate and get some things in order, we gave away two beds and a washer, we helped a lady who works two full time jobs with housework, a prayer team went out among the city, and (my favorite) we visited 3 widows.  One family visited a beloved 93 year old lady. The young boy that went along gave her a silly band.  Classic.  She had no idea what it was, but she gladly received it. Stoked to get to pioneer this work.

Come every Monday, including tonight (September 27th) 3.30-5.30pm.  At the Global Community Development Center, next to Cluckers.

Global Community Development

In a wounded and globalized world, our hope rests not on the skills of world leaders but on the heart of its 5.9 billion people. Where it is no longer possible to avoid boundaries of race, ethnicity, class, gender and where the inhabitants of this earth lie bloodied in the ditches of injustice, we need masses of humans who can move beyond a mere respectful lack of engagement to a reverential and intentional willingness to call forth the hidden nobility in every person one meets.

This is my occupation. Right now, I actually get paid to do Global Community Development.  Most days are not so vibrant. But there are moments when the European American woman rocks the small boy from Benin asleep as his parents work side by side serving the local community. And then I know that the future is upon us.

The story of the Samaritan, taken from Jesus’ ancient parable, tells of an integrated heart that exerts compassion and justness, action and peaceability. In fact, as the literature of Early Christianity suggests, the Samaritan’s Heart is Jesus’ heart. The final words of his parable include a call to ‘go and do likewise”. Jesus knew that the future of the world would rest on integrated hearts. If we hope for a world where brown and white skinned brothers and sisters walk hand in hand in the massive parks of our flourishing cities, we their grandparents must open our hearts to become Samaritan Hearts. We need to fill this broken world full of faith, hope, and love. Read on in this blog for some guiding lessons I have learned along the way.