Community: Notes from David Janzen Workshop Part 1 (Sorry, it’s long)

Here are my notes from the first bit of David’s workshop last Saturday. Any mistakes and lack of clarity are due to my bad note taking!
Some of it is in point form, but I hope you can get the idea…

Our first tendency is to try and look at the wounds of community, and look at the blessings, and examine the cost benefit ratio. This is a consumerist attitude.  Best buy for least cost.  We want to get away from wounded people.  The result is no community.

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Jacob wrestling an angel.  How is wound and blessing linked?
What had Jacob been up to?   Exile from his family.  Family betrayal.  He is coming back to meet his brother.  Coming home.  Re-entering community. He is successful in his personal endeavours, but is entering into the crisis of his life.

Wounds are nasty but they open us up

Wound is a lot more immediate that his blessing.  Long suffering.  Walk into the blessing by faith

Wound comes about because he is striving with God. God loves to wrestle with human beings.

Jacobs wound marks his change in identity

Jacob and Esau meet.  Esau comes with blessing and forgiveness.  To see your face is like seeing the face of God.  Work through the wounds.  Step into something more powerful that means something to the descendants.

David went on to share a story in his book about Olivia, a child who experiences a mishap/wound in the context of community.

In the story Olivia has processes her pain. There is comfort, care, good information, support from community.  Enough love in the moment to cover it. She told her story long enough and was listened to, so the love void is filled.
Then he contrasted it with the experience of so many others. Being berated, punished, in the place of their wounds, instead of finding healing, the wound becomes a place of trauma.

The wound has within it a longing for God.  How do we empower people with disabilities to be fully themselves.  Some wounds are transformed into blessings.

What wounds lead us to community?
– Loneliness.  We already love you, stop trying so hard
– Growing up in a family that didn’t honour feelings
– Growing up in a mixed race community where there are no people like us
– Rejection of difference.  Longing where self is loved and confirmed
– Seeing injustices of world.  Wanted to be a part of putting things right
– Longing for words of affirmation

In Community
– We are loved and that gives us courage
– The disparity between public and private persona is eliminated (or reduced)

What wounds happen in community?
– These wounds will drive us apart unless we become disciple of Jesus
– Love absorbs the pain around and within us
– We’ve tasted a little bit of healing we know there’s more
– Wounds cause us to act in ways that drive people away

Anger
– The logic of anger.  Wounded animal who turns on the anger to make sure others stay away so they can be safe.
– We will have angry people among us.  We will be angry
– By His wounds we are healed.

What about the introverts?  
– A smaller circle of relationships. 5-6, not 20-30.  
– Introverts are most drawn to communities.  
– We need those long term deep relationships

The secret of L’Arche.  
– Community gathers around the core of people with disabilities.
– Catholic workers around people who are homeless/addicted.  
– They embody the wounded ness and weakness of Christ.

There is a kind of wisdom that grows up in a community that keeps us wrestling with God and one another

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