Communities, Gangs and Orphanages

This morning I opened Facebook to see what was going on in the world…because that is the best source for what is going on in the world, right? I always check the notifications associated with that little red number first. You know, the number that begs you to check Facebook every 5 minutes because that number MUST contain something very important that just can’t wait!

This morning it DID contain something very important. It contained a notification that I had been tagged in a post by my friend Karen De Armond Gardner who had written this post on her blog. Really, take a couple of minutes to read it. God is an incredible weaver of stories and you might just find that He has something for you in this post, or some of her other ones…you don’t have to stop with just one!

So what was so important in this post for me? Besides the fact that I was there when Karen first received the word that jump starts the post? Besides the fact that I got a chance to hear, “the rest of the story”?

I’ve pondered connection and community a lot the past few days. I’ve actually been pondering those things for a good while on one level or another. Do you think you can have one without the other? Can you be connected without community? Can you have a community and not be connected? I’m not so sure you can be connected without a community. You really do need at least one other person besides yourself. But, can you be in community without connection? Can you be a part of something and not be connected to it? Can you be a part of a community and find yourself alone? (And all of a sudden I have more than I can fit neatly into a single post)

The following is the paragraph in Karen’s post that set my mind to pondering this morning:

My sense of not belonging rooted in an orphan spirit. We all want to belong, to know we bring value. The gang community grows as more fathers abdicate their role and mothers take on the burden as providers. Leaving the young to fend for themselves and search for a place to belong.

Gangs…we’ve all heard that people are drawn to gangs because they are looking for a place to belong. They endure harsh initiation rituals in order to belong. They do evil things to others in order to prove their right to be a part of a “family”. They accept the often unacceptable in exchange for connection. But, without a father, they are still orphans.

What about you? What about me? Are you part of a gang or a family? Are you connected to a community or just occupying space in it? Is your community connected to the Father or are you all just a bunch of orphans trying to get by the best you can? Have we settled for an orphanage when God is calling us into His family? Are our rituals based on Kingdom principles or are we living out a gang mentality and calling it something else?

I’ll let you ponder that a while…I’m going to go take the dog on a walk and get some fresh air.