Re-Turning the soil

Submitted by Mike Chong on March 16, 2012 - 7:31am
Learning the language of community


So what now?  The more and more time I spend away from Jubilee, the more I am finding the things that I learned there becoming real and relevant.  I think it no coincidence that Jubilee was called to offer hospitality to refugees, and that they offer to teach English as a second language.


I think that perhaps the very existence of language speaks to the heart of our desire for community.  To find what is common in each of our personal, subjective, individual experiences, and to talk about it, to experience it together.  And diversity is the driving force behind community, the lens through which we recognize what parts of our lives, what parts of our language have grown old and stale, and need to be broken down again into the soil, to allow fresh, new, organic and meaningful language and experience to grow again.  And it is this dialogue, this constant re-shaping of our intentions and our understanding, this turning over of the soil and focusing on forming deep, personal relationships through a continued understanding and search for a common context, or common language, or common ground from which to grow exciting things.


Actually, here's a spoken word piece I wrote while at Jubilee, it expresses this idea well, I think:


I am learning a language


One relatively new to me though,

One where meaning comes not from words,

but a language in which the tools of meaning are context

And context comes from stories,

where every thing, every word, has a story


And though we each come with our own story,

though we speak out of context,

we understand out of context shared,

that our tools of understanding are relationships

we understand relationships with each other,

we understand relationships with the earth

and we articulate the meaning written into creation.

and we understand, through context, the beauty that has been set into motion.


But, somewhere, when we take the human individual out of our tools of language,

we enslave our individualistic selves to our tools,

and build our empty tools into efficient systems,

Empires of systems built of empty tools and individualistic selves propped up on the back of the most inhuman systems


And it is from these systems that we seek refuge

But in the refuge we seek, we find Jesus - in this new language we learn


A language of peace.

Of peace that passes understanding of context,

but that reaches beyond the broken egg-shell pieces of our context to pass us understanding

understanding grown in a garden of shared context,

of shared stories fertilized with our broken-eggshell selves.


And so we sacrifice a couple pieces of ourselves to be built into a larger mosaic,

and we share a couple stories of ourselves to be grown into a new garden.


And so I am learning a language

I am learning a language of community

because it is in community where the word becomes flesh,

and it is in each other that we find Jesus.