What does a life lived in radical community look like?
Is community really worth the effort?
I knew I was in for exactly what I needed to hear at the start of Sunday’s service as our friend and pastor, Ryan, asked us to reflect on the answers to those questions and a few other truths about what it means to be in community.
As a culture, we’re moving away from true community.
The internet has fundamentally changed the way we communicate and connect with each other and altered our expectations about what to expect from community. Long-term commitments of any kind (jobs, houses, relationships) are no longer the norm.
We avoid community for a number of reasons. People require energy and effort, which can make true community feel like a burden. Because we know things ABOUT each other but don’t really KNOW each other, we fill in the gaps with assumptions and are more easily offended than ever before.
The hard truth is that it’s exposing to have people REALLY know us.
So, we’re left asking ourselves: Is community really worth the effort?
The short answer is,”YES“.
As I’ve shared when I first wrote about community almost two years ago, sacrificially giving my time to be with and invest in others is not something that comes naturally to me.
We are all wired to be communal and crave connection, but when you’ve been burned by community in the past, it can be intimidating to put yourself out there again. When we do, we risk being examined, judged, and rejected.
But the greater risk is that we deprive other people of our presence and the gifts and talents we have to offer.
There’s power in investing deeply in people and in having people invest in us. Sometimes we can feel like we are burdening other people. But guess what?
When I get stuck in my own thoughts (which happens a lot) and overwhelm myself thinking about all that I could or “should” be doing, I tend to retreat and “check out” socially. I find every reason possible to avoid things like social events that pull me away from a self-centered pursuit or an opportunity to do something I want to do.
That’s why last Sunday night was particularly special.
It marked the start of a community-building opportunity that combines a few of my favorite things: cooking and eating nourishing, delicious food with like-minded people who value living a healthy, purposeful, vibrant life in the context of a supportive community:
Our first cookbook club.
My friend and fellow foodie and health coach, Katie Hussong, and I came upon the idea after seeing a post that went viral on Facebook about Why Cookbook Clubs Should Be the New Way We Entertain.
Both of us are Culinary Nutrition Experts through the Academy of Culinary Nutrition’s program, so we have a mutual love for creating and savoring nourishing, healing food.
After a series of text messages agreeing we should “do this thing,” we organized our first ever cookbook club, bringing together friends from DC to Philly for a Sunday evening in Baltimore to share dishes from our mentor and culinary nutrition coach, Meghan Telpner.
Meghan recently published her first full cookbook, The Undiet Cookbook, and we used that as the source for our recipes. Everything was nourishing, delicious, made with love and dairy-free and gluten-free.
We brought together fellow health coaches, culinary nutrition experts, and nurses, as well as friends from college, church and our neighborhoods.
Each of us prepared a delicious dish to share and gathered around the community table to savor the meal and get to know each other.
Green Mojito Smoothies and Jamu Juice Shots to kick off the night.
Zucchini Hummus, Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables, Sweet Potato Grills with Cashew Ketchup, Wild Rice & Chickpea Salad, Thai Mango Salad, and Maple Balsamic Kale with Butternut Squash for dinner.
A decadent array of desserts, including Ginger Cookies, Wild Berry and Apple Crumble, Chocolate Raspberry Delights, and my contribution, the Rawmazing Key Lime Pie, to finish the evening.
Everything was DELICIOUS! (If you want the recipe for the pie, click here!)
We even had the opportunity to Skype with Meghan, the chef and cookbook author herself!
We had each person introduce themselves and the dish they had made, which was one of the coolest moments of the evening.
Our bodies and souls were nourished by the food and our time together.
We could let down our guard and just be ourselves.
We ate. We talked. We laughed.
And through it all, we connected.
We were in true community.
This is how we were meant to live!
So, what is holding you back from community?
Who misses out if you don’t show up, if you’re not present and willing to share your gifts and talents?
What makes you feel truly known?
If you’re interested in connecting with community like this, fill out your contact information here, and I’ll put you on our list 🙂
If want to connect with others and serve Baltimore this upcoming weekend, join me at the Baltimore Crop Circle with Tessemae’s at 900 Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm on Saturday, November 21st. We will be giving away over 30,000 pounds of FREE fresh produce to the community!
Maureen Sutherland Weiser
What a lovely idea! It sounds like a really fabulous night! FYI, the link in the email you sent isn’t working. Just thought I’d let you know in case others aren’t as persistent as me (I went to your home page to find this, the most current post).
Thank you! My website is being a little strange right now so I’m talking to tech support as we speak! Not sure what is happening but it will be fixed soon, I hope!