This week in church, we talked about the stages of community.
According to some psychologist whose name I did not write down and who I cannot find online*, there are four stages of community development: excitement, disillusionment, adjustment, and health. Most people bail on a community during disillusionment, but if you ride it out you can get to something awesome.
It occurs to me that these stages also apply to our relationships, and that there's probably more of an ongoing loop that occurs in healthy relationships and communities. Perhaps not all the way back to disillusionment, but a sub-category, like frustration or disappointment.
The pastors in our church encourage us to stick around through one major disappointment and see where it goes from there. While my cynical side just says, "yeah, of course they don't want us to bail, they need members", it's also cool to see church leadership recognize that we will be very disappointed by them at some point.
This week in church, we talked about waiting expectantly.
I am really really really bad at waiting. Unless I have a very clear sense of why I'm waiting and how long it will be and an ability to monitor the time passing, I get so incredibly impatient very quickly. Waiting for something that is uncertain? I might as well die. (And not be melodramatic at all.)
The Bible is full of people waiting. Noah waiting for his boat to hit land. The Israelites waiting to be rescued from Egypt. The Israelites waiting to be let out of the desert. The Israelites waiting to be saved from Rome. The Israelites pretty much were forced to wait a lot.
(Either humans were far more patient and understanding back then, or those Israelites were really annoyed a LOT. They also must have really nailed the whole "sticking with something through disillusionment" thing.)
I've been working on trying to enjoy the process of things instead of just urging on the outcome. Since so much life passes in the waiting, why wouldn't I want to appreciate the time I've got?
With all that uncertain waiting in the Bible, the pastor talked about waiting expectantly. Waiting, knowing that something will come at the end. Waiting with trust and hope.
It seems that might take the edge off.
This week in church, we talked about our mission.
Our mission is to love people.
*I did find this paper, crediting anthropologist Kalervo Oberg with these concepts with regards to cultural adjustment. This name doesn't ring a bell, so maybe someone else applied Oberg's concepts to community?
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