Friday, August 3, 2007

Authentic Community

Many people are searching for authentic community whether they know it or not. Many people are also a part of an authentic community, when they may not even realize it is so. I am going to relate three different communities that I am a part of, and I will let you decide whether or not you deem them as authentic. I will also let you judge for yourself their unique advantages and disadvantages.

Community #1
The Michigan Crew

These are mainly childhood friends that I've grown up with over the past 25 years. Though we haven't actually lived there among them in almost 15 years, it always seems as though we've never parted. Each time we get together, we jump right back in where we left off in our relational development. We maintain contact by phone and email and usually see each other once a year. We can count on them for just about anything. When my father passed away last month, they came through like champion friends, there to console, but more importantly, just there to hang out, reminisce, make fun of each other, and basically remind each other of why we are all still friends after all these years.

I often find myself jealous of the lifestyle that they live up in Michigan (despite the weather). They "drop in" at each others' houses, play softball together, belong to the local Moose Lodge, sit around bonfires together, boat/fish/hunt together, vacation together (Florida, Mexico, Carri bean, and the U.P.), and each of their respective families considers them family. There are times when they see more and less of each other, but then again, in the winter, its easy for everyone to go into hibernation mode.

Whenever we go up to Michigan and spend time with them, life just seems simpler. Their lifestyle just doesn't seem to be so fast-paced and chaotic. (Though, admittedly, this could simply be a case of "greener grass".)

Our common denominator is life experience, dating all the way back to childhood.


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