What a beautiful word. I called my neighbor for the summer this morning because she had invited Chase and me over for dinner. "I'd really like to just connect with you both this summer," she said.
If you're familiar with the modern Christian movement - you would know that connection and action are the two main deals - through connection, we act; through our actions, we show the Love of Christ; through the Love of Christ, He offers salvation. For most people, it seems that they refuse salvation if we just say - "Hey - here's Jesus. He'll change your life. You should get saved." I could understand why they would refuse an offer like that. Why would someone want their life to change if they're satisfied with the life they currently live? Why would someone need salvation if they come from a seemingly good lifestyle? It's not until we truly connect with others that they finally realize the difference between our lives and their own. The world NEEDS connection. We were created for connection. (a couple of websites where believers are taking action: Starving Jesus, The Irresistible Revolution, Sex God, the simple way, Compassion International, Invisible Children)
This picture was taken at Graham Creek in Tate's Hell, Florida, under a bridge. It's a community. A community of dirt dobbers. I've been surrounded by connection and community this summer already - herds of sea cows (manatees), pods of dolphins, rows of turtles sitting on a log, groups of people talking with their kayaking tour guide, and dirt dobbers. Sure, there are the animals that were made for solitude - it's very rare that we see more than one gator sitting on the grassy shore of the wetlands or more than one roach crawling through the cabinets... yes, disgusting. For the most part, we - society, culture, pod, herd - we yearn for connection.
To follow up on the neighbor story:
Our new neighbors are Beth and Dave. They are an amazing couple! Beth is an artist and showed me some of her artwork today - ironically enough, the theme in the majority of them was connection and relationships. The men who work at Journeys of St. George (where Chase and I are working this summer) also came to 'connect' with us over dinner. They're all great guys but stay pretty distant from Christianity. In fact, one of the guys said that "some religious guy" came in today... and religious in all sorts of the word. Our co-worker looked over at Chase and said, "I don't like those kind of Christians. I like the Chase kind of Christians... the kind that love people." What an incredible thing! That's what Jesus on earth was about - a man who sincerely LOVED people... CONNECTED with people. That is what draws people to Jesus. Not a threat that they will go to Hell. They're enthralled by a regular man that takes the time to love people. It was especially cool tonight when Dave asked Chase to bless the food. We ate, played some cards, and then Beth showed me her artwork. I just met her yesterday so I'm not sure where she stands, but regardless if she believes in the grace and love of Jesus, I've already seen her display more love than I've seen most Christians ever show.
7 hours ago