Tag Archive: commitment


Let’s be honest – this is a passage i would rather skip over, and most people do. I can’t remember ever hearing someone preach on this. I don’t particularly want any of my friends who have been divorced to read or watch this.

But at the same time, can we afford to avoid it. And what makes this one really difficult is that it doesn’t seem like a lost-in-translation or easy-to-misinterpret passage. It is Jesus talking. And what He is saying seems pretty clear to me.

Let’s take a nervous look at Mark 10 from 1-12:

[For the next passage on becoming like a little child, click here]

on the way to the CCDA conference in Minneapolis that a bunch of us from the Simple Way are currently attending, three of us stopped over at a Nurturing Communities event hosted by David Janzen who has just released a book on community and met up with a bunch of people from different intentional communities all over the country and spent a really great day connecting and dialoging and having an opportunity to connect with some of the monks at this incredible place called St John’s Abbey.

the one idea that came out of a few people [and especially from the monks from this 1500 year or more old order] was a concept that i have semi visited sporadically over the last few years in terms of thinking about it but never really written anything on it and that is the idea of STABILITY.

the world as most of us know it is not currently well aligned for the concept – we have become a people of instant gratification whether it be microwaved meals or instant messaging or 2 year stints at a job before changing company or sometimes even vocation and so the idea of sticking with something for a long time does not come as naturally as it once did.

but there is something valuable in STABILITY, well a lot of things, but possibly the most powerful is RELATIONSHIPS.

try as we might by poking and retweeting and being skype-able we have just not been able to come up with instant relationships… well not often, and certainly not effectively. i mean we have definitely given a shot and as witnessed perhaps by a rising divorce or single parent rate the concept of disposability is also something we’ve quickly embraced as opposed to perseverance, hard work and commitment. if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it as Beyonce so famously sang, followed quickly by if you stop liking it then remove the ring and if possible put it on the next person or thing that you like… walk away, don’t look back [remember Lot’s wife] just turn away and keep walking, and then rush to the next thing…

the monk’s take a vow of stability and it was interesting to hear that these Benedicting monks take a vow to the specific monastery as opposed to the denomination or Benedictine group as a whole… so there is commitment to the movement but the specific commitment in the form of a vow is aimed at the specific location [and it is not set in absolute stone and so there are ways to move to another monastery but it is quite a big deal – for the most part it means a commitment for life or a significant portion thereof]

when i think of intentional community and being part of neighborhood change then the idea of STABILITY resonates strongly with me – especially in a neighborhood as transient as ours where many people might be there for six months or less at times – there needs to be some form of stability somewhere to strengthen, encourage and build into those people who do stay longer and might decide [or have it decided for them] to make this place their home.

we look back at something that happened last year and try to speak of the change we see in our community whereas these monks refer to incidents that happened 50 or 100 years ago that helped shape their common life… it is a completely different mindset and one that bears much thought and consideration…

what if more people put down their roots and committed to a specific place and a specific people… or group of people… for ten years or even twenty… what kind of long-term change might be possible then? how much would our focus on the long-term nature of our community and the bigger questions of justice weigh on us?

definitely think this is a topic that demands a lot more thought and conversation…

…and the series continues, and will continue to [i still have a bunch of posts to come and some very long ones] because i think this is becoming an incredible resource and because you don’t necessarily have to read and ingest it all now – bookmark it, print it out, come back to it later, read it with your spouseperson and speak about what things you can add to or subtract from your marriage to make it stronger, more joyful etc…

this is a double comment but an absolute pleasure of a couple in val and my lives because this was the bride at the third wedding i ever preached at and one of our favourite couples of people in the whole world: Michelle and Frans:

Michelle van Eeden

Hey Brett. Sorry I forgot to reply to your question earlier. I married my best friend. For me, one piece of advise that I keep having to tell myself is “DON’T compare your marriage/relationship to others or to standards that society has created. This could lead to disappointment and confusion within the relationship.

Frans van Eeden

yo B-boy!

communication is a master key for opening the doors to successful
navigation through the amazing journey (around the sun) that is
marriage. Mish and I have only been married one year but we are
learning such a lot from each other ! We are both blessed with a large
amount of understanding and patience that balance out our lack of
descriptive language abilities…which is the premise of my short
story:

This weekend we got a bit lost looking for a specific place in a
strange area just because we assumed too much. We got directions from
someone (and their directions were spot on). But the problem was that
we assumed the person giving them knew from which way we approached
and they assumed we approached the place from the same direction they
did. But we didn’t and they assumed wrong. We eventually found it
after 30min.

Thus 2 things:

1) Don’t just assume you think you know what the other person is
feeling / thinking. Ask questions in love and try to understand with a
gentle heart and kind questions. Sometimes it takes a while to
understand each other but that ‘while’ is time well spent.

2) Understand that you both are going to make mistakes and it is OK to
do so. In a relationship most mistakes are out-of-control best
intentions.

love

frans and mish

for the next post, you can click here…

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