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Lone Rangers

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I grabbed a late night bite with Mr. Broken-but-usable JD yesterday.  The jerk called me a lone ranger.

About fifteen years ago when I first entered the doors of a church I was called a lone ranger as well.

Trying to not look stupid, I rarely talked to anybody about my spiritual journey.  On my own I read through the Bible, the Koran, Buddhist texts, and other philosophical books.  I was desperately trying to figure it out on my own.  Yes, cue in Celine Dion’s All by myself.

Fast forward to today, and I’m all about community development.

Whether it’s within the church, or in neighborhoods, or even virtually, everything I think and do ties back to connecting people and cultivating community.  Problem is, I still lack it on some level.

I meet with lots of folks and I’m involved in many groups, but community still seems elusive to me.

It could be because I have an over-idealized image of what it looks like.

It could be my social tick that causes me to either only lead in group settings or be completely disengaged (which I’ve read is common if you’re an only-child – a term which I thought was ‘lonely-child’ growing up, but that’s another story). Now that I think about it, I’ve seen this in quite a number of ‘ministers’.  Passionate when we’re leading, just screwing around in the back when we’re not (my past ten small groups can attest to this on my behalf)

It could be that I just flat out haven’t made the effort.

What do you think?

Is there some neurotic place within me that thinks everyone deserves community but me?

Do I secretly despise people?

Is it because I wear the same jeans multiple times before washing them?

JD fears with all that I do I’m going to crash and burn.  Somebody save me.

Photo Credit: Rantes

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • shallowfrozenwater November 12, 2009, 2:50 am

    i'm sorry … you don't know me. why is it that you're not engaged if you're not leading the group? why aren't you part of the group that is learning together or working toward the community that you say you're working so hard toward? if we're working toward community then every contribution is as valuable as whoever is leading the way and really a group is then group-led, is it not?
    it's not an odd thing to wear jeans multiple times before washing them. i do that too.

  • lon November 12, 2009, 3:50 am

    hey shallowfrozenwater – thanks for the comment – great thoughts – I'm really not sure why i disengage a bit – it's something i'm definitely still working through – part of it is because i'm leading so often, possibly when i get a chance not to, i just want to kick it back. another part of it, may just be learning for myself what it means to be a contributing member while not leading – i'm not a control freak in any way, but to switch from high gear leading to just being present and active, still seems challenging for me for some reason.

    and awesome about the jeans, i'll let my wife know i'm not the only one.. .i knew i wasn't.

  • Rusty November 13, 2009, 3:15 pm

    thanks for opening up my world. I have never heard the only child comment before, but that is me. I'm an only child, and a pastor, and if I am not leading I am talking when I shouldn't, making jokes, basically getting in trouble in the back of the room. I love people, I love community, I desperately carve it, but I am in a since a social misfit? I guess that is why people like me? perhaps i remind them of themselves.

  • lon November 13, 2009, 9:41 pm

    Hey Rusty, yes there are others out there as well…. i think part of just kicking back and goofing off is just part of what's within me, and part of connecting with people – i don't mean for any mal-intents, but sometimes i wonder if that also in some way hinders deeper community when i'm 'off'…

  • lon November 17, 2009, 5:41 pm

    Hey Rusty thanks for the comment – i thought I had responded to this, but either it was in my head, or the comment got lost. yeah, i've noticed a number of pastors this way… i do think part of it really is being ourselves and connecting with people where they are… and it does work. but sometimes i do wonder if i shouldn't pick it up a notch .. or at least try and behave… haha.

  • lon November 17, 2009, 5:41 pm

    Hey Rusty thanks for the comment – i thought I had responded to this, but either it was in my head, or the comment got lost. yeah, i've noticed a number of pastors this way… i do think part of it really is being ourselves and connecting with people where they are… and it does work. but sometimes i do wonder if i shouldn't pick it up a notch .. or at least try and behave… haha.

  • joeie January 24, 2010, 11:22 pm

    Hey Lon :0)

    Old post I know, but just catching up on your blog a bit. It’s been a WHILE since I’ve been here!
    Congrats on the new pregnancy (actually, not sure how new it is anymore haha).

    But anyways, just a random response to this post.
    Maybe it’s like there are two parts to you – one that desires to “create/breed” community or to “fix” non-community, and the other part is just simply who you are – normal, rambunctious, laidback… who you genuinely are as a person.

    Reminds me of certain men in my life. They’re responsible, they’re adults, they’re respectful and great people. And at the end of the day, they can still go home and play video games. What is with boys/men and video games?

    Maybe that’s the conundrum this post was written out of – half of you is mature and the other half is you. You know what you want, but you’re not 100% there. Philippians 3:12-16, but especially verse 16. I don’t think we’ll ever get there, but I think that gap between the dissonant… “personalities” you see in yourself will become smaller and smaller as you age and continue to mature in all aspects. But the only thing now is just to focus on verse 16.

    Haha, sorry if this comment seems rude or out of line since we’re really not acquainted much :). But I see the same thing in myself too; the desire to be mature and inspirational, and the rebellious nature to be myself. But of course, the gap is much wider in my case ;).

    • Lon January 25, 2010, 10:50 am

      Hey Joeie, thanks for returning! I totally hear what you’re saying… it’s a bit odd having multiple sides of who we are… a bit ‘unwholistic’ don’t you think? .. and to strive towards my more ‘mature’ side seems to in some way be putting down the more normal, rambunctious, etc. side of me… is one side really better? I know i need therapy…

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