Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On Contemplation and Cohesion...

Are those jewels real?
How'd you find them?
Were your lives in danger?
- The octopus was scary.
- It was dangerous.
- Walking the plank was scariest.
Walking the plank?
- Then we found the pirate ship.
- That and the pirate's treasure.
- We were chased by the Fratellis.
That's enough.
Telling more stories, Lawrence?
- No, this time it's for real.

About a month ago, YoMJ posted a comment regarding my reading list, and asked the question: I noticed that a lot of your books are about God, or church. I was just wondering why and what are you looking for? I guess I am not up on your quest.

My Quest. Sounds quite adventurous, if I do say so myself.

A few posts ago, I listed Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution as a book that changed my life. In and of itself, it may not have had as much of an impact but, when placed in the context of my history and experiences, it was an earth shattering work. Both in this book and in his upcoming Jesus for President, Shane talks a lot about pursuing the “abandoned places of the empire” and of living out a “peculiar politic”. The lifestyle of Christians is supposed to be peculiar to those around them, just as the life of Jesus was both strange and seductive to those who witnessed it. How do we step into neighborhoods, relationships, communities which have been long abandoned by any reasonable person? How do we see less desirable people and places as loving creations of God that He longs for us to pursue?

A Revolution is at once an intimidating and exhilarating proposition.

Then, most recently, I promised to share my history with race and the Church. And in attempting to summarize that journey, I realized that my quest (and potential revolution) is intricately bound up in that same story. It’s a long story, and I’m still trying to figure out which parts are worth telling, and exactly how to tell them. It’s a scary story, because putting it into words solidifies it into a foundation from which I must continue to build… to move… to grow… to set forth. So, as the Hamster so eloquently put it, I’ll just go ahead and give it to you “kim roth style - all nasty and untidy in the end,” and probably a bit disjointed in the beginning and transitions as well.

I decided to focus my story on the theme of Abandoned Places, as this seems to be a central and connecting concept. A year or so ago, I’m not sure I could have synthesized what was swimming in my head, but now suddenly I am finding myself staring at an outline. So we’ll go with that (and by “we” I mean “me”), and see where it leads:

On Abandonment…
How Abandoned Places are Created
How Abandoned Places are Perpetuated
How Abandoned Places are Revitalized
How Abandoned Places are Pursued
How Abandoned Places are Inhabited
Living With Abandon

I can not promise that this series will not be interrupted, will not be long, or will make sense to everyone who reads it. I will promise to complete it, to try to be honest, and to learn from the process of reflection. I invite comments, and questions, and glimpses of your own journeys along the way. Hold on loosely…


Janna Y. Barber said...

"putting it into words solidifies it into a foundation from which I must continue to build… to move… to grow… to set forth"

very nice, kim. i have also thought of writing about my own experience w/ race. religion isn't really involved, but it's still a big, scary subject to tackle. i look forward to hearing this.

the hamster said...

kim - reading claiborne now with the good rev. pepe guzman. IR is phenomenal in the sense that i now realize how few poor people i know. i've been on this wave length for years thinking that poor could mean any number of things. and, yet, "any number of things" never actually cut into my beer and movie theatre budget the way that feeding and clothing strangers does. one sounds more like Jesus; the other sounds more like me. my only complaint with claiborne is his overly convinced commitment to his own cause. he leaves very little room for grey area or even people with families. it's like, "why the smack you own two pairs of shoes?" or "why do you and your kids need a two bedroom house?" i'm just saying that i have mixed feelings about the book. love it/could do without the self-promotion.

janna - my good Lord, i love you more and more, my friend. yes! we so need to write and talk and pray and take long walks about our feelings towards race, and even gender, especially in these post-civil rights "it's cool and all to be interracial days." can i just tell you how many white people come up and say totally racist things to me about black people and then elbow me, saying, "but, you know, me and you can say that because i have black friends and you have a black wife." i'm all like, "nigga, please!" we have SOOOOOO much to work through in perceptions of race and gender. i may join you in the writings. call it a joint effort for reconciliation.

dr. king - REPRESENT!

Kimberly said...

*aside re: Claiborne*
I do realize that Shane may come across as offering only one option in the book. Having had the opportunity to hear him speak in collaboration with people who live vastly different lifestyles, I know that there is room in his theology for other expressions of peculiar living. Also, if you get a chance to view the "Simply Enough" DVD he did with Tony Campolo or the "Another Way is Possible" DVDs, you get a better feel for this (I can actually legally make copies of the accompanying CDs). But the guy is passionate within his lifestyle, and deserves to be... after all, he's giving up SEX for it! :)

That said, even as a childless singleton I struggle to live out exactly how I would see Jesus calling me to. The lure of that "one more thing" that will bring happiness is strong indeed. And I'm a lot less altruistic then I'd hope to be!

the hamster said...

i would personally dig a copy of those cds. could use the teaching and challenge. my lifestyle is not very radical. just my beard. and my pectorals.

Angela said...

i'm excited to read what you're thinking about here. go, go, goooooooo kimberly!!!!!!