Tuesday, September 05, 2006

If life were more like the X-Files...

A post I've been saving for awhile. This grew out of an X-Files DVD binge last year.

  1. Every time you heard a bump from the ceiling, it would be followed, a few seconds later, by something starting to drip.
  2. Every time you passed a hole or some kind of dark opening, you would feel an irresistible urge to pull out a flashlight (which you always carry with you on your person) and crawl down into it.
  3. All uniformity--people who drive the same nondescript dark sedans, wear the same dark suits, or sport the same dark sunglasses--would be regarded as sinister and conspiratorial.
  4. Creepy music would play frequently in the background, making otherwise mundane tasks like opening the mailbox or reaching into the garbage disposal preludes to disaster.
  5. Conduits that lead to places you cannot see--drains, vents, manholes, etc--would be a source of endless fascination for you, and would always have occupants.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dinner at the Catholic Worker House

Although perhaps first I should answer the question "where the hell have you been?!?" that a few of you have been kind enough to ask...

Answer: Out. Busy.

Ah, that's my inner teenager talking. It's never too late to have a rebellious adolescence.

The short of it is that we are in a new location, and I have been doing some new things. At some point I may write about this, but not now. Tonight, this is what I want to talk about:

For the past several years, we have tried to invite the poor to be a part of our lives, and we have found various ways of doing so in a couple of different locations, both rural and urban. As I said to my son today, I think religion goes bad when it grows far from the poor. But in our new location, we have not yet found a way to do this. We currently are living in an overly residential location with little or no sense of connectedness or community. We have found some opportunities to volunteer our time, but not a niche. Not a commitment.

So tonight it was food for the soul for us to go to the local Catholic Worker House and share a potluck vegetarian meal with people who define their ministry as one of "hospitality and resistance." We ate together, and talked about what we are doing and what we would like to be doing. We agreed to come back for the potluck next month. And we are looking at the possibility of being "house-parents" from time to time, coming over to the house to cook dinner, talk with the guests, and give members of the core staff a night off.

As the she-guerilla put it, "we found our tribe."

I think many of us are looking for precisely this. We are not looking for another volunteer opportunity. We are looking for a tribe, a community, a group of people with whom we hold values and a vision of the world in common, with whom we can share, not just work, but cooking and laughter, washing dishes, working in the garden together. We are seeking a sense of belonging, a connectedness that overcomes the isolation that has been imposed upon us by race, by class, by gender, and by a thousand others meaningless distinctions, the ways by which we size up others and say, "like me" or "not like me."

I think there are many, many people out there who are still looking for their tribe. Some of you have been looking for years.

I hope we have found a niche, a place to hang a longer-term commitment.

But in any case, tonight I am happy. And glad to be back.

For more information about Catholic Worker Houses, including a listing of locations, see http://www.catholicworker.org/.