A *culture is not optional project
Spring Break 2010: Day two
Today was another full day–which means I am again sitting down to type this near midnight. We don’t have internet access at the Hermitage, so I’m posting these updates to the blog while we grab water from our apartment in the morning for cleaning at the school (the school building is winterized, so there’s no running water).
The Gospel text for morning prayer today included Jesus saying he was not of this world. When I was growing up, it seemed that we always inferred from this that Jesus was speaking about how the world didn’t matter much because we were all going to end up in heaven eventually anyway. It wasn’t until I started reading Walter Wink several years ago that I discovered another (more accurate?) reading: the word “world” implies “system.” So when Jesus says he’s not of this world, he is saying that he has a completely different economic, social and political system in mind for the purposes of human flourishing. The systems in place both then and now were primarily in the interest of the wealthy and powerful; Jesus’ economy includes everyone and ensures all receive what they need while delighting in their ability to contribute.
With this in mind, we set off for another day of work at Huss School. We were joined today by J.D. Yoder and Bob Hostetler. J.D. is a local contractor who has shown significant interest in the Imagining Space project and has been remarkably open with volunteering his expertise and equipment to help get things moving. He invited Bob, a tree trimmer by trade, to help cut down several dead trees on the property. In the meantime, the students cleaned some nasty mildew stains in the gym and raked leaves in the front yard. We again managed to get a lot accomplished in a relatively short amount of time!
It’s very exciting to have the support of folks like J.D. and Bob. We certainly couldn’t afford to hire someone to come and do the work they did today; but they seem to implicitly understand a Kingdom economy, a new way of doing things that Jesus was alluding to in this morning’s text. In a Kingdom economy, profit is never the sole motivating factor. Other goods, such as community, relationship and beauty come into a complex equation to determine how we spend our time and talent. The same can be said, of course, for everyone who is helping us out this week. And we simply can’t thank you all enough; it’s amazing to witness Kingdom economy in action.
Later in the afternoon, we explored downtown Three Rivers and the surrounding parks, concluding with a trip to Lowry’s (probably one of the best bookstores in the country). After an amazing meal prepared by Mariann and Liz (with help from just about everyone else), we went for a moonlit hike through the Hermitage woods. It was a beautiful way to end the day.