The front porch a historical symbol of our connectedness and community the front porch and die. In fact it might already be dead. Used to be that you couldn’t go to the south and find a house that was built without a front porch or a veranda as we called them in the Caribbean. In the north brownstones of the city had their stoops and everyone sat on the stoop. The front porch, veranda or stoop was a regular way of interacting with our community of engaging in connectedness. We waved at our neighbors as they went by, watched the kids as they played in the front yard not cloistered away in the back and we interacted. We were connected. Now sad to say that day seems to have come to an end. Front porches no longer get built in new homes. Exiting ones get screened in for security purposes, and fewer people are found just sitting on the stoop.
Porches have been replaced by back decks on the backs of homes that I separate us from our neighbors and their community while affording us privacy to interact with our closest friends. I think this is symbolic of our increasingly individualistic culture and way of life. We no longer feel the necessity of being connected to the larger community, to the common good which bonds us together.
We have become so focused on what’s in it for me, how I’m going to get to the top, that we have lost the reality of the fact that nobody gets to the top, nobody gets over the top, that nobody can make it on their own; we’re all connected. The irony is that is a “christian” nation we have forgotten or ignore what the scriptures teach. We are one body. We can’t just ignore one part of the body, or all parts of have all parts of the body the same. To be we the body we have to have each of the parts interacting for the common good. As our culture but become more and more individualized and we have moved to our own individual personal spaces we don’t interact with people who are different. We don’t interact with people aren’t like us, who don’t live in the same places, go to the same schools who might just be passing by.
I believe this is why it’s so hard for people to understand groups and movements like I occupy Wall Street doesn’t have just one single theme, agenda or idea which they express. One T.V. pundit said today people need to look at them and say do I see myself. Thing is they are us. The sense people they’re coming from a variety of different places and experiences can simply come together for the common seems so foreign, that we call it communism. the scriptures call is the body. We not me or you but we are the body together. One part cannot make up the body.
So can WE do? We don’t have to go and remodel our homes but here are some great ideas from a post by Joshua Reeves on the Verge network blog. 25 Simple ways to be Missional in your neighborhood There is a link to 75 more ideas in there. Here are some of my favorites
– In the normal rhythms of life pursuing to meet and engage new people
– Prayerfully watching and listening to the Holy Spirit to discern where God is working.
1. Stay outside in the front yard longer while watering the yard
2. Walk your dog regularly around the same time in your neighborhood
5. Invite neighbors over for dinner
9. Have a game night (yard games outside, or board games inside)
14. Do a summer BBQ every Friday night and invite others to contribute
20. Host a movie night and discussion
21. Start a walking/running group in the neighborhood
25. Have a front yard ice cream party in the summer