Thursday, 3 November 2016

Who's in your neighborhood?

               Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood? 
               In your neighborhood? In your neighborhood?
               Say, who are the people in your neighborhood? 
               The people that you meet each day

               Well, they're the people that you meet
               When you're walking down the street each day!
Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, 
Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

What is it with song lyrics that won't let go? And what is it about certain conversations that trigger the lyrics?  I was asked by a colleague  to meet for a coffee so that I could be told about "missional ministry" in more detail than the information that has been sent out and has been shared at the diocesan synod.  The goal was to see how I could be persuaded to be part of the group.  I agreed and we met.  As I tried to wrap my mind around "missional ministry" I kept asking myself isn't this what we are supposed to be doing, be in community?  I had done some research before hand and had talked to people who had gone to the meetings to get their thoughts on the concept that I was asked to consider becoming a part of.  Everything that I read and was told kept me coming back to the lyrics of an old familiar tune, for those who grew up watching Sesame Street, who are the people in your neighbourbood?

When I think about the concept of forming a 
"missional group" to get to know your neighbourhood it begins to fall apart for me.  I already know my neighbours, know many of their concerns and life struggles, aging struggles, know some just to say hello or to help clear the snow in winter, and yes we have shared meals together.  It is a friendly neighborhood in many respects.  Are all neighbourhoods that way, maybe not!  But if they are not, why not?  Did I say hello or am I waiting for someone else to speak first?  If they speak first and try to make conversation how did I respond? Was I abrupt and closed?  Friendly and open to talk?  What was it that encouraged the person to continue to converse or discouraged them and saw them walk away?  My struggle with the concept continues as I keep thinking that I should know something about my neighbourhood and the people that I meet even if it is as simple as knowing that they walk their pets.  I am left wondering where are we failing as humans beings when we do not know our neighbours, are we really that inward looking and consumed?  

I did not agree to be a part of the this conversation in the way that it has been envisioned.   Thus far my colleagues have not convinced me that this is something that I need to be a part of in this way. My focus has been getting to know another neighbourhood, in addition to the one I live in, the one that I meet on a regular basis, worship with on  Sunday and get to know them, their needs, their struggles and joys.  I have been attempting to build on the community that is the congregations I am a part of and who are in relationship with each other.  But I guess the biggest drawback was that I thought this was what we were already supposed to be doing!

How is your neighbourhood?  Do you know, at least by sight, the people that you meet when you walk down the street each day?  And please, if you would make a comment on this blog post and tell me if you know your neighbour, your neighbourhood, your community.  It frightens me to think that we are isolating ourselves to the extent that we no longer know how to be in or part of a community and have become "drive in and drive out" neighbourhoods failing to see the people that we meet each day and who will abundantly enrich our lives.

These are the people in your neighbourhood,
in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood
these are the people in your neighbourhood,
the people that you meet
when you're walking down (or driving down) the street each day!

1 comment: