Tag Archives: community

Is Listening to Hard?

Yesterday I put forth a theory that media may be a contributing factor to killing off the community of the church and society as a whole. Today I want to add to that theory: Has media created a society that doesn’t want to listen?

Specifically I want to address church. I have noticed that many kids are telling me that church is boring because they are just preached at and then they leave. When do they get to contribute? Church has largely been a model where one person spoke from the front in one way or another for the majority of its existence so why are kids saying this and not only kids but young adults and indeed… older adults as well? Has church really changed that much or has society changed that much?

I believe it is the latter. Media has created an idea that either you are being entertained with television or your social interaction is limited to 140 characters (let’s be honest, who reads longer FB posts than that in their entirety?) We have become a society that can skim and judge and put out our opinions with the touch of a screen. Everyone has something to contribute but no one cares about what other’s have to say. If it isn’t a meme or a photo, it’s not going to get nearly as many “likes” or “hits.” This is not conducive to active listening. In fact, the slew of media that are introduced to our young people at such a formative age does not train them to listen and that, I believe is contributing in a huge way to the decline of our culture in church.

So the question is, does the church change to fit the times and create a whole new model based on the idea of allowing everyone to contribute and no one to listen? Are Twitter churches in our future? Is personal community where we look in peoples eyes and listen to what they say and pray for an attitude of understanding during a service to hard to maintain in our Instagram world?

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Disneyland Drama and the Great Vax debate

Soooo… This article is not about vaccination. It is not about whether there are toxins or not or schedules or celebrity opinions.
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What has come to be a debate in my own mind is public safety. I have heard people (in the wake of this measles outbreak) stating that vaccinations should be mandatory.

Are we really going to hold someone down and shoot something (remember, we aren’t taking about whether this thing is good or bad for you) into their body against their will or their consenting guardians will? Is the issue of public safety more important than the publics freedom to choose?

Truth: I don’t know. If you believe in herd immunity, vaccination is a big deal because the more we do it the safer we are. This would speak to the issue of forcing vaccinations as protecting those to young or immunocompromised to get vaccinated. However, is that removing a fundamental human right? The right to parent how we choose, the right to our own body being molested?

I don’t actually know the answer to this.

What say you, community?

Small Town Life – FFA

We live in an agricultural community. This small town has always elevated FFA (Future Farmers of America) to a status that I can only compare to… Olympians maybe?FFA_Emblem I don’t know. I’ve never lived in a big city and I don’t know what makes an organization cool for kids there. But here, the FFA is the thing to join. The other day, all the future farmer’s were out on Main (and this is saying something about the smallness of our town), sweeping all the downtown streets and washing the windows of all the businesses. Yes, the got all the way down the three main streets and did all the downtown windows. Can you imagine that happening in a big ‘ol city? Nope… These kids are awesome but the smallness of the town made what they did seem even bigger because EVERY business benefited. It was kinda awesome to see all the kids littering the streets while cleaning up the litter.

Small Town Life – Delivery

If Small Town Life has taught me anything, it’s that food is the only way to react to anything. This spring has been a time of going out and coming in life. There have been several deaths in the church and my family and around town and basically, the whole town reacts with food. They make freezer meals and bring them over or just come with a meal that’s ready for that night. If someone dies, you won’t have to cook in that house for a month. images3

Of course, we had a baby this spring and that same thing happened. FOOD! It’s awesome

Truth: What else can we do when we want to support those who are going through something? Either a new something or a sad something or whatever. Food delivery is standard because it helps in several ways.

1. Usually, food is delivered in throw away containers. This means, if you have paper plates, no dishes. As a new mother and also someone who has dealt with a death in the family and severe illness in the family, I can attest to the awesomeness of not having to do dishes!paintings-family-food-tables-Thanksgiving-Norman-Rockwell-Turkey-bird-_472406-32

2. Having food delivered saves money. When you are dealing with a new expense of some kind (a baby or a funeral or hospital billls), having food delivered saves money. Maybe not alot of money but some and every little bit helps.

3. It is one less decision that has to be made. Have you ever been in the situation where one more decision will throw you over the edge? After having a baby or deciding on someone’s end of life wishes, deciding what to have for dinner is just one more thing and it might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

So, to all those ladies who organize meals for people in the church or community – keep on keeping on. If you are one of the people in the crowd – sign up. That one meal makes a world of difference to those who are hurting, busy, or just plain overwhelmed.Saturday-Night-Live-The-Return-Of-The-Church-Lady

Small Town Living – The Inverse

The inverse of the awesomeness of knowing everyone in town, being an integrated community, is that everyone knows everything. There are no secrets. I had jury duty a while back and realized how hard that must be for the local court system. How can you find objective jurors in a town where everyone knows about the case already because they are all integrated?index It reminds me a bit of that movie Mystery Alaska where the town goes after some guy in the beginning of the movie in court and… well, I forget the story line but it’s hilarious how tight knit the community is. They are not going to be pushed around by an outsider.

images-bIt’s hard to keep to yourself in a small community. You can’t NOT invite people to a party. They are going to find out. You can’t keep anything small and to yourself, everyone will know. There is talk.

Recently in our little town, there was a land war over a piece of property. It became a huge community issue. Something that wouldn’t make the local news in a city was a major issue that was discussed in the opinion section of the newspaper every single day and indeed, is still being discussed over and over in the local coffee shop, the city counsel and homes all around town. The players were well known community members and what should have been a personal property issue became a community dividing conflict. A rift developed between the sides. It still exists. Somehow, it felt like a huge family feud! I was amazed at what passion was behind an issue that barely effected many of the opinion stating contributors in the local paper.

But that’s part of being in a small town52-5271-OSPZG00Z. It’s true what they portray in movies about these kinds of things – they can divide and indeed conquer the beauty and harmony of a small community.

Small Town Living – Coffee Shop Awesomeness

P1050615There is a coffee shop I go to. I’m getting to be kind of a regular there. The lady who owns it recognizes me now. There is a group of old guys that get together there and chat about life. They discuss the towns business and undoubtedly they have seen our little hamlet change and morph in ways I can only imagine. When I see them, I imagine they are like a group of Jewish leaders getting together by the gate of the city and discussing politics and theology. They have seen so much in the world. I notice when someone is not in the group anymore. I know if one has gone into a nursing home or died. More come and take their place. It’s comforting to see that this community will be there when I’m of retirement age… I hope.6791051078_aa472e9c30_z

Will our generation be this tight in real life or will we sit at home posting to Facebook or whatever social media has taken it’s place?

Will it matter that I live in a small town then? Will we have practiced spending time together in real life enough to spend our retirement connecting in a way we never could when we were child laden, working and bustling around the world? Or will we be so out of practice in seeing another human face to face that we will hole up in our homes and not know how to function?

For now… I’m going to get a bit of sleep before my world starts to spin out of control in the morning.                                             *all images found norman-rockwell-coffeeon google