Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Peaches and Christian Community

"You need a critical mass to start canning, and we're definitely not there yet."  

Famous last words.  We processed 120 peaches over the weekend--lots of canning and a big crockpot of peach butter, and there are three bags of peaches still ripening and a bunch more on the counter.  And we have barely begun on the tree.  

I'm also in the middle of figuring out how to deal with the low-acidity aspect of white peaches...now I know why I've never canned our peach butter.  Unlike yellow peaches, white peaches are on the border of being high-acidity, safe-to-water-bath-can.  So yellow peach canning recipes may not be safe for white peaches, and I'm not sure how much lemon juice to add to our peach butter (which we usually don't add) to make it safe to can.  The solution, of course, is to get into pressure canning.  Yikes.  Or making jam, I guess.  David doesn't like jam, but I think other people do?

I've been thinking a lot about Christian community recently.  Pop quiz: what book did I order to read up on it?  We attend a pretty big church, and I feel like our experience with this church is/will be different from the previous churches we've attended in two ways.  

First, this is a church that could potentially be long-term for us.  In Arizona, we knew we'd be leaving after graduate school.  Even when we started attending our first church here in NM, I knew it wasn't the church we could stay in forever, at least not in its current manifestation.  In other words, it'd be changing a whole lot or we'd be leaving it eventually.  But this is the church we could stay in our whole lives, if God doesn't call us to move.  It's established, it's not going anywhere, as far as 'religious goods and services' go, it's got everything.

Second, this is the biggest church we've attended.  It's got two services, 500+ attendees total, and I'm coming to terms with the fact that we just won't know people the way we would at a church 1/5 the size.  I mean, our last church had about 30 attendees, and we could all hang out in the 'sanctuary' (there was really just one room) and let our kids roam while we chatted.  Just can't do that at this church.

For some people, the size might not affect how they invest at all.  But David and I are never going to have a huge circle of friends and be super involved in a bunch of things.  That's not how God made us.  I also bought "Introverts in the Church" and "A Quiet Faith" as part of these ponderings, because David and I are definitely on that side of the personality spectrum.  And I'm trying to figure out how to serve from our strengths, in the way that God created us, not in the way an extrovert-oriented culture thinks we should.

Which brings me back to Christian community.  How do we (David and I) invest in the Christian community in a way that works with our personalities in a church this size?  And what kind of community are we building around us?

But another, equally important question is, how do we balance involvement in the Christian community with our call to be salt and light in the world?  Because we need to be involved in a way that supports and encourages that, rather than one that becomes insular and all-consuming.  And that's a whole other set of questions to wrestle with...

...which is why I bought "Life Together" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  I figure that's a good place to start wrestling.  

No comments:

Post a Comment