The Real Thing

For much of my life, I thought seafood was kind of gross. It smells funny and the texture can be slimy. Not a great combination when it comes to fine cuisine. Friends would rave about salmon or lobster, but I just couldn’t bring myself to give it a shot.

I developed a fish allergy around 12 years old, and that pretty much cinched it for me. Except for the occasional plate of popcorn shrimp at Red Lobster, I wouldn’t touch the stuff. After all, landlocked Wichita Falls, TX was not exactly the pinnacle of fresh seafood.

And then I got to visit the bay area in California.

One of my best friends was getting married near San Francisco and I got to be a part of the wedding. Their rehearsal dinner was held at a nice seafood restaurant that sat right on the bay. And that’s when I became fully aware.

Until then, I had never had the real thing.

All that I had ever had was  a poor imitation. The crab, shrimp and clams tasted like they had just come out of the water (they probably had). There was no strange smell. No slimy texture. It was wonderful. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing. I still won’t eat seafood unless its high quality stuff. I’m kind of a snob about it.

My experience has been the same with community. For most of my life I have had good friends. I was blessed with a close and wonderful family. My experience with church has been pleasing (for the most part). I thought I understood what community was all about.

And then Trevor & Chris came into my life. I discovered the real thing.

Outside of my wife & immediate family, they (& their families) are the most important people in my life. They love me and care for me in ways that I could not have imagined years ago. They celebrate my successes and grieve with me in my pain. They confront me when I’m being a jerk (which is far more often than I’d like to admit). They care for and help guide my children. They are my brothers.

I wish I could say that I did something special to form my community, but I can’t. Our relationship is born of and centers around our love of God and our desire to follow Jesus in the whole of our lives. I am just a better man because of the way God uses them in my life.

For too many years, I settled for less than the real thing. I don’t want to do that anymore.

This blog springs from the community that I have with these guys and their families.

Have you experienced real community? Has God blessed you with the real thing? What does it look like for you?

Or are you settling for an imitation?

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4 thoughts on “The Real Thing

  1. I LOVE the idea behind this new adventure of yours.

    “Community” is such a simple word for a complex idea. I like your analogy of the seafood experience, and I agree that once you’ve experienced real community, the imitation doesn’t satisfy and in fact one may realize that it never really did. I would love to be having this discussion face to face as I have lots of questions and observations about the idea of true community.

    Community is more than relationships based on mutual experience and life situations, and it’s not often seasonal. It’s walking arm-linked with people you’d give your life for, and that’s serious stuff. When the experience or life situation changes, your tribe (people in your community) make the changes together. And that’s only the beginning.

    You, Chris, and Trevor are proof that community isn’t based on location, but on love and living with the Father’s heart. I believe we do choose our community, though it’s not always a thought out process. I’m looking forward to this discussion! 🙂

  2. I agree that while many relationships & friendships are seasonal, true community is not. I’m honestly amazed at how many of the people with whom I share deep relationships – my community – live so far from me. I guess that when Jesus is the center of those relationships, he creates quite the gravitational pull that can hold you together. True community transcends differences in location, personality or opinion.

    A huge theme we’ve hit on in our discussions is how we often settle for imitations – shadows of what God really has created for us. It’s true with our churches, our faith, our marriages and especially with community. We settle for things that are close and easy. At least I often do.

    Thanks so much for joining the conversation! I’m so glad to know that you & Benny are part of our community and will be joining us in our little journey.

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