Monday, August 18, 2008

"Just Call Me A Communist..."

That was my friend Shane's comment regarding the fact that he hasn't watched any of the Olympic games so far this year. He very jokingly said, "Just call me a Communist...I don't support America."

I'm sorry, I didn't realize the Olympics were THAT serious. If that's the case, I must be a Communist too, because I haven't watched any of them either. If I were to watch any of the events, the one that would hold my attention the longest is the gymnastics, that can be a little fascinating. Unfortunately, when it comes to the summer games, I've always been the most bored by the swimming, which is where all the hype is at this summer. So it's true. I haven't watched. So sue me. It's can do that.

I DID, however, have the distinct privilege of watching, up-close, live, and in-person, an event nearly as serious as the Olympics!!! After evening worship services last night, a large group gathered in the gym of our Family Life Center for some serious, hard-core, no-mercy, head-shots only (okay, well maybe not, someone might have gotten hurt)....DODGEBALL!!!

There was a tournament consisting of 4 teams: Young Kids, Teens, Singles, and Young Couples (parents of the young kids). Unfortunately, I didn't exactly bring my dodgeball-playin clothes to church with me Sunday night, so I chose to stand on the sideline as a cheerleader (Go Singles!!! We DOMINATED, by the way!!!) rather than join in the fray.

As I stood there on the sideline of the gym, watching, laughing, cheering, enjoying the action, and actually dodging the occasional ball that came flying my direction, I couldn't help but think of a post that brother Mike Cope wrote a few weeks ago, describing his church's option for summertime Wednesday evenings this year, entitled, "The Church At Play." What they were doing is not all-that-different from what my church chose to do on Wednesday evenings this summer. We gathered for a shared meal. We shared a more casual devotional and praise time. The difference was where the Highland church in Abilene had various fun activities different nights such as movies, outdoor water activiites, games, etc. while we opened up a mini-coffee-shop and had live entertainment, where we sang, danced (gasp!), and karaoked all summer long!

Different activities...but the idea is the same. As Mike Cope said, "...there is a time to work...and a time to PLAY." There is a time to just spend fellowshipping with your brothers and sisters, having fun, and hopefully getting to know them on a little bit more personal level. And sometimes that time is even more important than the time you may spend together in other ways, doing other things. Because it's when you really get to know each other that you are able to build a real sense of community within your church "family."

On Wednesday nights, my Singles class is about to begin a study of the book Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg. Our singles minister introduced the book last week, emphasizing that we would be learning how to better "live in community" with others. But to do so requires one to make an effort to really get to know others. It seems like it will be an incredible study, one that I can hardly wait to begin! I love this topic, because I love the idea, not only of building upon the sense of community I already have with others in my Singles group, but of building that same sense of community with the rest of my church "family." Because at my rather large church, I have no doubt that I worship with some of the most amazing people, most of whom I don't know, or at least not well. And we so often call ourselves a church "family" that sometimes I can't help but wonder what ways there are for us to continue to make it more and more so.

No, to tell you the truth, I'm not a Communist, but I absolutely LOVE the sense of community that I have with my brothers and sisters in the Lord!

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