In Common Meal (Jeff)

23 Sep

Hey-o
This is Jeff, not Dan. I have really enjoyed having Dan live with our family, we have had great conversations and we both have a lot to learn from one another, and from our neighborhood, Gifford Park. We live at 3150 Chicago Street, which is where we get the name “the3150”

One thing that we are excited about is our beer brewing kit. My email I just received in my inbox tells me that it should arrive on Saturday. Dan and I like conversation, but we like it better with something to drink in our hands, and other friends around. Once we get our first amber ale brew batched, we’d like to have you over and share it with us.

This blog post is not about beer, but about something else that is communal, a meal that my family went to a couple of weeks ago at inCOMMON, which is where I work.

I wanted to share one thing that stuck out to me when my family came to the Monday night CommonTable meal. It was through an act of submisison and service from our 6 year old, Anna. If you knew Anna, you would be surprised at what she did. Anna is very shy.

When we arrived at the meal, there was quite a line. We didn’t mind waiting and hanging out for awhile before we ate. While we were outside, there was a man who was here to eat, and he was insisting that women, children and families eat first. We assured him that we were okay with waiting. He really wanted us to go in the front of the line because “people need to know that women and children come first.” He held his hand out to Anna and asked her to lead us all to the front of the line. Anna was hesitant for a moment and then extended her hand to his and he led us to the front. She let him serve us.

Often, when we are working to “serve others” we start off the relationship on an uneven foundation, a foundation based on power and skill (by us) and powerlessness and need (by others) What Anna demonstrated for us is something that we all need to learn. In our acts of service to others, we need to provide opportunities to receive blessing from others, and let them serve us. This allows for the relationship to be reciprocal and blurs the line between the one serving, and the one who is served. There is power in submitting to others and letting them see that they have value and dignity and have the capacity to help others.

If I’m honest, I want to keep the control of my relationships, and I want to be in charge. In our neighborhood, I could try to wedge my way into positions of leadership, but that desire to control would creep back in and soon enough, those relationships that are equal, will start to get off track.

The great thing about neighborhoods that are thriving, is that there has already been plenty of people before us that have worked hard to make the neighborhood vibrant. If we can come underneath them and serve I believe that we have the best opportunity to learn and grow and be changed, and that is why we moved to the neighborhood, to learn.

Anyways, I look forward to writing more on this blog. Thanks for reading.

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One Response to “In Common Meal (Jeff)”

  1. danielericcummings September 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Check out the website of InCommon Community Development, where Jeff works
    @ http://incommoncd.org/
    Also this animation that explains what InCommon does
    @ http://incommoncd.org/about/video/
    And also Jeff’s profile
    @ http://incommoncd.org/about/staff/jeff-spiehs/

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