Tuesday, June 24, 2008

they're the people that you meet each day....

... or... do you?

So... I was recently reading Peppermint Filled Pinatas by Eric Bryant. He's from a super-cool church in L.A. called Mosiac, and this past winter, he spoke at my favorite place of worship (*ahem* my church, Genesis).
Like Shane Claiborne; amazing author, speaker, radical - this book did a great job of making me notice my short-comings when it comes to living out Gods will with every part of my life. I LOVE THIS FEELING! I know! Feeling like I suck is AMAZING! Know why? In a nutshell, it gets me off my butt and makes me move.
I always ask God to guide my steps and move me in ways that will bring glory to his name.
God does not always lead us in a way that feels gentle and safe. Sometimes he gives ya a swift kick in the rear. "Go! Move! It's out of your comfort zone, do it anyway!" -God.
Aannyway... back to the book.
You can read the synopsis and reviews on the Amazon link up there (click on the book's title), but in a nutshell: Embrace diversity and love your neighbors.
We are all different. It's not always comfortable. Many of us are residing in jam-packed little neighborhoods with a bunch of people that we do not even know! This did not sit well with me. It was on my mind for several months. Complacency and comfort were binding my hands, heart and feet to make any difference.
Why do I live in a NEIGHBORhood and feel so distant from my neighbors? Why don't we just pack up and move out to the country? We chose to live here, surrounded by people that get out of their cars, go straight into the house with closed up doors and windows, and stay there until they get back into their cars again.
I was ready to make an effort.
I made out a flier and passed it out to my neighbors, inviting them to come over on Monday night after dinner for snacks and socializing. We figured, what was the worst that could happen? No one would show because it was a lame idea and we'd have a family night playing games in the backyard. No harm done.
Monday night came and the people started trickling in. 1, 3, 4, 6.... 19 people showed up, with snacks in hand, to see what this "Patio Party" was all about!
Aside from going away to school and living in Berkley for 5 years, I have lived in this home for 30 years! I met neighbors that remember me running around outside in my diaper when I was 2!
Everyone was so happy to be here. We hung out until the sun set and decided that we would rotate "Patio Parties" every Monday night this summer.
Last night, we met again across the street. Neighbors told neighbors and we had 30 people show!
God is good.
I had little faith in the idea but gave it a shot with the nudge of God.
Today, I know my neighbors and relationships are being built! I looked outside this morning and saw 2 neighbors chatting on the sidewalk that lived 3 houses away from each other and never met. I look forward to going on a walk tonight and possibly running into some of the new people that I've met. I pray that I can show God's love regardless of our differences.
Making a difference, one backyard at a time...


Anonymous said...

wow, talk about stepping out of your comfort zone.

Loo said...

I know!... and it was surprisingly comfortable! Cool how God works, ya know? He knows us. :)

Mark said...

Great summation. You really are an inspiration to me...keep up the good work. (absolutely no sarcasm)

velvet said...

yea for yoyu! that is awesome about your neighborhood bash. you have inspired me - we always have a 4th of july bbq with friends over, and i am now going to ask the neighbors, too!
and what a great trip - love the pix. your kids are gonna have the best memories! :)