Taylor & Andy (one set of roommates), then me and Curtis (another set of roommates)
I have been reflecting quite a bit lately-mostly due to my desire to see how God has worked in my life in the past, and how he might work in me in the future. Strategic planning for my life (and marriage). Anyway, one of the areas that is most prevalent in my thoughts is my spiritual journey. I recently watched my Spring Break DVD from 2007 with my three friends and me; this spring break trip was the culmination of our first year of intentional community together. We were two sets of roommates from two different dorms, participated in the same sport, and had one goal: to be accountable in all areas of life in this intentional, intimate community. We called ourselves the Knights of the Round Tables.
Psalm 133 reads, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”
Basically, living in community and unity, with brothers is a very good thing. What we, Andy, Curtis, Taylor and myself, did as knights was greatly beneficial for each of us individually, but also corporately. Let me start by explaining our name. At our college (Northwestern Orange City, IA) everyone eats in the cafeteria, which is oddly broken into two rooms. The main room is full of regular rectangular tables, and you would sit in your “group” (West, Heemstra, Colenbrander, Football, Goofball, and if nothing else, where ever there was room). The second room was full of round tables, for banquets. But one would go to this room for a few reasons: 1) do devotions (to show you’re more spiritual, of course), 2) to eat with your significant other (and maybe even to do devotions…), 3) to have a purposeful conversation/meeting. In case you’re wondering, we went back there to eat and talk. We all ran cross country, and gravitated towards each other, and started eating a meal together, back at the round tables, initially to talk.
As time went on, we naturally began discussing theology, girls (somewhat), Scripture, and we ended with prayer requests and prayer. That was the first time I ever prayed in community consistently. It was awkward at first, unnatural, and I was terrible. But it grew me, it challenged me. It provided a place where I could share what I was struggling with, thinking about, and what some highlights had been. It was unique, I had never experienced that before–and I am indebted to each of those men for their willingness to sharpen and put up with me.
At the beginning of the spring semester we decided it would be nothing shy of awesome to go on Spring Break 07 together. So we did. We drove 22 hours to Atlanta to paint Andy’s uncle’s fence. We drove some more to be with Curtis’ family, and then went to Panama City Beach, FL with them. Finally we drove back to snow-filled Iowa. The trip was not only fun, but a unique experience for each of us. I wish I could say we are all as close now as we were on that trip, but we’re not, and that’s okay. Three of us are married to our college sweethearts, two are in seminary, and we each live in different states. It’s not sad, just different.
Where my present musing ties in, is thinking about how beneficial those conversations and life experiences were, and how great it was to walk alongside three other like-minded brethren in a similar life experience. And then I realized if it was important to me then and now, why don’t I have a similar community that I am walking with? Sure I am married now, and it might look different–but should it look different? Should it still be important? Should I strive to be intentional in community?
My answer is yes, of course-why would that change? But what does it look like now is the conversation my wife and I have had for the past year of our marriage. And we’re not sure. But I regret not thinking about it as seriously as I am now, sooner. I’ve wasted time that could have been spent investing, being invested in, and walking together through life intentionally as I did with these Knights’s I’ve briefly mentioned.
Enough of me–what does your current community look like? Your friends, your network, your roommate? Are you intentional? Are you asking the hard questions no one likes, but that propel us to Christ? Are you learning more about who you are, how you are, and how Christ is making himself perfect in your weakness? I would love to hear your thoughts. By the bye, I am not done with this topic, as I have my three-strands-of-cord brothers to talk about! But that’s more about lifelong intentional brotherhood.