July 21, 2008

on being freak-ish

I'm having one of those moments where I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. So, readers beware...

We get a lot of 'pats on the back' for how we live and what we do, "What you're doing is so important," or "We need your voice and what you're doing to be heard and seen." This kind of thing is pretty common. It feels good at first. But the problem is, these people rarely want to chip in and help out. They like what they see. The idea of young(ish) people trying to live in radical ways as a result of the Gospel of Jesus is exciting to them. But they don't want any direct affiliation and they don't want to help out. Just come and watch, and then go get a mocha on the way home to a carpeted home built after 1980. (Damn, I miss carpet. I don't know why, but I do. Hardwood floors in an old house are a great aesthetic but... damn, I miss carpet.)

I end up feeling like we are a bit of a freak show. People like to come and look and feel excited by the experience but they go home and we're still here. Then add the recent flurry of "Claibornagains" that like to come and peek in at what we're up to and then go back to their justice-in-a-bracelet-and-a-t-shirt world... [sigh]. I guess we're clearly not "irresistible" enough. Pats on the back don't pay the bills. Coming over for one Sunday night doesn't give someone a clue what it is like to try and live like this together for years. We're here for the long haul. People say we're "cool" but I've about heard enough of that. I don't care if we're cool. Cool doesn't pay the bills. We don't do this to be "cool". I've never desired to be cool. I just want to follow Jesus into his radical, wonderful dream and take others along for the ride. Currently we are $3,000 short of making our budget. Part of me isn't too worried. Every month it works out somehow. But, that's only one part of me. We leave in a few days on a road trip that we are hoping will pay for itself. Along the way, we hope to learn a few things, see what God is doing elsewhere and teach some folks a few things we've learned along the way. I should be excited right now. Instead, I'm frustrated and stressed out... I apologize for the outburst. It isn't directed at anyone in particular... I'm just tired of feeling like a freak show.


Eliacin said...

from freak to freak, i understand. We are not alone.


Anonymous said...

Right there with you, bro. If warm wishes were lollipops, I could open a candy store. We're closing on a second community house on Wednesday. It is a great step for Missio Dei. But at the same time, I'm starting to look for a regular full time job so that I can afford to do ministry and raise a family. We get groups that come and check us out...even stay for a few days...that never consider chipping in. I don't get it. They come with Claibornish dreams and then continue on their merry way, basking in an adventure that I'm not sure they ever take seriously enough to settle into.

Anonymous said...

"Claibornagains"? Did you make that up? Funny stuff. Less funny is the lack of value people place on this - it's a curious little novelty for them to place in the glass-faced cupboard of life experiences.

I know you already know this next part, but it bears repeating that even these tourists that pop in and out in what look to be consumer-y ways may move on and create communities of their own, based on your influence. It doesn't help your bottom line, but it may well help the Kingdom.

Steve K. said...

Jason, I hear your frustration, and I totally understand. I don't want to diminish that in any way, in fact, I want to encourage you in all that you're doing to look at the good that may come about in the kingdom, as Steve Lewis just suggested.

In fact, your comments remind me a bit of what I hear working in an evangelical mission organization about "short-term missions." For many long-term missionaries, the idea of "short-term missions" is frustrating, because those missionaries who welcome "short-termers" to the field for one week to two years (anything under two years is considered "short term" in SIM) often never see "the fruit." But the reality is that the vast majority of people who later go on to server long-term in mission are people who have served short-term somewhere else at some other time in their life.

So I pray that you won't remain weary in doing the good that you're doing, inviting others to taste and see the kingdom life that you are living. There will be fruit, you just might not get to see it or experience much of it.

Looking forward to seeing (and hopefully encouraging) you guys when you come through Charlotte on August 4!

Randzig said...

I have no clue how that feels but it makes perfect sense(the frustration). Just keep doing what you know you should and keep doing the basics well.
I'm extremely interested in this Justice Kitchen thing. I'd love to host similar events where I live. Did you video it or is this something you could provide resources for?

Jason Evans said...

Good words. Thanks to all of you.

Randzig, yeah I'm sure you would be able to do something like this where you are. Along with the EC blog, watch Brooke's blog (abundantnutrition.wordpress.com). She'll most likely have tips and resources to use if you wanted to take this idea and apply it in your neck of the woods.

Unknown said...

I have been there. I think I am still there many days. Although as a carpet owner, I think it is over rated.

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