Come to Commune

I am struggling with the idea of community right now. Or maybe I'm just lacking that fellowship right now. I know there's individual responsibility. Sometimes, though, I think one can find themselves in an environment that is just not as conducive in providing a community. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Fellow followers.

Occasionally, I listen to Bob Dylan. He's a remnant from my childhood - along with Simon & G, the Beatles, and James Taylor. Bobby Dylan wrote an obscure song on his unnoticed album Saved called "Covenant Girl." I read once in an article that he wrote the song after he was in a motorcycle accident and he "found Jesus" for a brief amount of time. He talked about how difficult it was to find a community that helped foster spiritual growth. Or even better help him give up the booze, drugs and women. I'd like to think if he had a solid surrounding of people who cared, he would have a better chance at staying a Christian.
"Covenant Girl"
I've been broken, shattered like an empty cup.
I'm just waiting on the Lord to rebuild and fill me up.
And I know He will do it 'cause He's faithful and He's true,
He must have loved me so much to send me someone as fine as you.
Covenant woman, intimate little girl
Who knows those most secret things of me
that are hidden from the world.
You know we are strangers in a land we're passing through.
I'll always be right by your side, I've got a covenant too.
"Some religious communities foster a vision in the face of life's unshakable tragic dimension, of continuing reasons for despair, and of simplistic tendencies to pin hopes on a particular eschatological future or reduce them to personal wishes. Such covenant communities keep hope alive among those who have the good fortune or the good judgment to land in them."
-Covenant, Community, and the Common Good by Eric Mount


blessings, benevolence, and beauty

I just taught a short story by James Joyce at my field experience in Granville High. The name of the short story is Grace; it's in the collection of short stories called Dubliners. Joyce defines grace as basically the unmerited love of God toward mankind. Ironically, the whole story is about a group of drunk men who misunderstand faith and make many comical errors about the Church.

Who cares, right? Well, maybe it's just me. I'm completely impacted daily by literature, music, and film. The "secular" and religious realms are blurred in the sense that I find spiritual in the stereotypically un-spiritual. It just amazes me that a century ago Joyce struggled with the concept of grace as much as I do now.

I picked up The Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross this summer. It was less than six bucks at B&N and I thought it would be an interesting, but easy, read of a little more than a hundred pages. Of course, though, it left my head spinning. St. John describes how grace permeates the essence of who we are. In giving grace, God lovingly elevates your inmost being. You are not simply better than you were -- as if God added some quantity of natural goodness to all you already had. God has changed the very quality of what you are in your humanity. Now you have a different way of existing.

Grace. The word is thrown around a lot. Sometimes I lose insight and understanding because I can't grasp the concept.

I don't easily show grace to those who wrong me yet I expect it without hesitation from God. This is when I imagine Him in His heavens, sighing with exhaustion from all my demands. Yet, He will still be the grace-bearer to me. Always.

It's a paradox. I don't show grace and, yet, because I expect grace I feel I don't deserve grace.

“From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
{John 1:16}
I met Grace at a food pantry in San Diego. She was waiting for her free shoes and bread.