Getting naked with the neighbors

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Disclaimer; no actual removing-of-the-clothes nakedness took place. But rather, removing-of-social-norm-bullshit as to what to talk about and what not to talk about.  There was conversation, there was healing, there was life in community in many shapes and forms. To God be the glory!

***

Earlier this week my bro invited me to hang out with him to watch the first U.S. game of the World Cup. It was a great game! The first goal by the U.S. in less than 30 seconds from the start! We went back to his place and shortly thereafter “the neighbors” (as they are, but I am not putting out their names.) invited us over to hang out with them, so we did.

They introduced us to their kids, their friends and their kids, and we hung out with them…to 2am in the morning! But here’s the thing, we…”the neighbors”, my bro, and I…quickly transcended the social parameters of what to talk about in the early stages of friendships and relationships. I have described this before in my posts as “transparency begets transparency”, the notion that sometimes people in our lives open up if we make the first move. That we, so guarded in our thoughts and feelings with those around us, almost knee-jerkedly respond to how-are-you’s with “fine” and “good” answers, and yes sometime it is fine and good, but sometimes isn’t all the time.

I bring up “naked” because I like the imagery found in Genesis 2:25

“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame”

Naked…no shame…While there is probably truth to them being naked in the no clothes sense, I also grasp that it also means being honest, being transparent, being visible warts and all and being comfortable enough to open up on that level. Sure, Adam and Eve probably didn’t have a lot of “dirt” on them as we do some…many years…later, but still, they were naked and felt no shame.

My bro and I hung out with “the neighbors” and this beautiful thing happened. They wanted to know of our lives, what we do, and it got personal and I admit I was skeptical/panicking/worried when it started going this way. I want this in my life, but I get scared about being not liked after I open up, I get hung up on my own issues and I keep people at a distance- especially people I barely know, but I gave in with hope and internal prayer, I jumped into the deep end of the pool. And you know what? I didn’t hit the bottom, I didn’t crack my head open, I survived and I found myself floating.
I also realize that my bro and “the neighbors” were floating too, that they experienced the deep end of conversation and it was alright to bare a lot and they felt no shame. It was true and authentic life in community, and maybe paired with the shared desire for connectedness that’s why we invested life with one another until the wee hours of the morning.

***

We left and I shared with my bro that I have not connected with my neighbors like that at ALL (and I’m approaching nearly a year of being in my apartment), and I had some reasons why, but I also know that I am a factor into that as well. I bring this back to me before I dispense the advice of living and being in community with those around you because I need to be the change I want to see, I need to foster the community I want and hope for the best. I occasionally ask people who have a good sense of living in community what they do, how they do it, et al. because I realize I have good ideas but I can always glean more from others (that’s what I love about learning). It is my plan to be more diligent in fostering community with those around me, both in my subdivision but also within my church. I know I can do it, and having the propensity to be a part is half the battle. My bro and “the neighbors” spoke to my mind as well as my soul, it was invigorating and I look forward to once again jumping into the deep end of the pool, to be naked and feel no shame, with my neighbors in community.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

29/30 – Some rules society seems to enforce were meant to be broken

Some rules society seems to enforce were meant to be broken

I work with the homeless and down-and-out in my community of Aurora Illinois. Now society and social norms would say that they (how dehumanizing! They’re some of my favorite Imago Deis!) should keep to themselves, that they should pull their bootstraps up, get a job, “God helps those who help themselves”, yada yada yada…are ya done yammering your jaw?

There are times where I say screw society and social norms, if something comes between me and serving God by serving others because “that’s not what we do” “in polite company…” et al, I don’t want a part of society and social norms that separate me from people whom God has made in his own image.

Take for instance what’s going on in Orlando, essentially it is illegal to feed homeless people, to which some people defied the law and consequently got arrested for it… Yet put in a similar situation I would be doing the same! There aren’t any laws imposing me from feeding the homeless in my hometown, but if it ever becomes illegal by law terms as in Orlando, I will break the law.

Some rules are meant to be broken, and I have no problem breaking rules that keep me from serving God by serving others.

~Nathanael~