Tag Archives: community

Community of the past, picture of the future

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Tonight, being snowed in, watched Dancing with Wolves with the wife and eldest daughter.  It was actually the movie my wife and I saw on our first date so always will have sentimental value to me.  I love movies set in historical contexts, I love the time of the Civil War and I’m a sucker for Tatonka.But there is certainly more to see in this movie.  The community of the Sioux.  Not to romanticize too much, the life then was incredibly harsh and barbaric at times.  But the in-between times.  A community built around proximity to one another, shared possessions, gathering of resources, each one playing a part, receiving meaningful names that marked one’s life.  Most importantly in my eyes, seeing one’s identity not as a me but as a we.  There wasn’t such a thing as a glorified individual, it was about the tribe.  They had individual meaning as they lived in their belongingness to one another.There was a Ruth moment towards the end where “Stands with a fist” tells her husband “Dances with wolves” that her way is with him.  Wherever he goes, is where she is to go.  It wasn’t about keeping up with Jones’, it wasn’t about the seeking of trivial pursuits, it was about her belongingness to him and him to her.  It wasn’t about an american dream of health and wealth, they knew none of that was a gurantee, they gave up control of those things.  It was about something more primary, that their path may lead anywhere, but it will be traveled together.  We as spouses need to say these kinds of words more to one another.  Give one another assurance like my wife gave me on our wedding day in her vows, “when the tough times come, I’m not going anywhere”.  (and she’s lived it)  Say the words of assurance and meaning, and then enjoy the bonds of matrimony all over again.But the scene that rips me up is at the end when Dances with Wolves has to leave the tribe because he is a threat to them being hunted by the white men.   “Wind in his hair”, who reluctantly became a warrior brother to Dances with Wolves , bares his soul on the mountaintop.  With his heart breaking and a lonely farewell, he exclaims  1) who he is:  I am Wind in his hair 2) who his friend is: you are Dances with Wolves 3) the cry of his heart: “can’t you see that you are my friend?” His primal scream releases this emotion over and over with powerful words of confirmation and affirmation.When was the last time you knew who you were?  When was the last time you knew whose you were?  These are the primary questions of community and hear me very clear on this next point, OUR CULTURE SUCKS AT IT!   This world sells a bag of lies and fools gold.  You will find yourself washed up on the shore over and over again wondering why the waves of life have such a profound affect on you.  There is no life in things that are dead.  The american dream is folly, consumerism is hollow, the false idols of pop culture will not satisfy your deepest longings.  Over and over, you will find yourself thirsting for more.So what’s the answer if the world won’t give us the goods?  Simple, we rebel and make it ourself in partnership with the One who created it all.  A God who is by very nature community:   Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   Begin by being redefined not as what you do, where you live, what you’ve done, what you look like or what you have.  Radically redefine yourself as one loved by God.  And don’t move from that place until you’re convinced it’s true.  Once you come to hold that belief, it becomes a belief that holds onto you.  Just try and shake it, its a virus that runs deep in your soul.  Then what?  well, then you’re a virus carrier, go infect with words and actions of life and truth.  In a world of loneliness, offer belonging.   Speak the words of intimacy and belonging to one another, it’s a good place to start.  I find that many of the answers to our future, are found in the communities of our past.Stop and notice the Kingdom around you,marshall