Friday, January 8, 2016

righting riting

1/7/16 10:46 PMth  i want to say that both TF and KF seem fragile to me.  TF is much larger, though a 10th its heyday size, and most members are quite sure of its strength and continuance, though few seem to envision it very clearly past their own laying to rest.  There are long-time members looking at other alternatives for retirement residence, in case TF fails in some way, and/or increases dues to an impossible amount.  I personally have the sense that people could leave in the same kind of wave that they have perhaps arrived, leaving housing in a buyers' market, cheap, and dues sky high.  But I don't know enough to know.
         KF is fragile because it almost collapsed with its 1990's error of switching to a Non-Profit organization, with each individual more-or-less fending for themselves—Most members then left and have not come back.  Around 2007 it switched back to its original pooling of resources among full members of the community.  It has a very small number of full member/stewards with a kind of catch-22 that if they had more, they would attract more more easily.
         Now about writing.  I have come to deeply admire the profound amount of writing in both communities, every where you look.  at Koinonia, the late founder wrote much about the intentions of the community, as well as some history as he and it got older; and he translated the Gospel from the "original" Greek into Southern US setting, with a touch of authentic dialect and syntax, his Cotton Patch Gospel.  His solitary writing cabin remains as memorial, out amid cattle pasture, pecan orchard, and rambling forest.  Many other members have written much along the way about its history, intentions at each stage, including offshoots such as Habitat for Humanity and Jubilee Partners community.  These are typically enthusiastic, serious, deeply sourced studies of social experiment in spiritual witness.  Just like at The Farm, there are an abundance of these and other books in their shop and catalogue. 
         Here and now, in addition to my Hildegard of Bingen page at my room's door, I run into an Intern who trades poetry chapbooks with me, two stewards writing a book presenting the simple focused way of life they live here, and a third steward writing & delivering, to me, several exquisite meditations on scripture readings such as this one for Jan 3rd:
Just looking at the star flooded them with great happiness.

Imagine the great joy these travelers must have felt when they looked on the baby and his mother. They had come on a long journey, to a strange land. And they left without much knowledge of what they were seeking, or how they would find it.

They went to the wrong place for information. Even though the scholars knew from reading the prophets that a king would be born in Bethlehem (or Gainesville), they didn’t know where to find him, so the travelers were sent on their way to learn as much as they could.

And the signs in the heavens appeared again. They knew they were close. And then they found the baby. All we know is that they bowed down and honored him. We don’t know how this changed their lives. We do know that they were made happy at the sight of a star.

The same has been true for humans throughout the generations. The stars are mystery and beauty for us.
Psalm 8
1Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?c
5You have made themd a little lower than the angelse
and crowned themf with glory and honor.
6You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under theirg feet:
7all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Once, many years ago, I was asked to describe God. God for me, is the tree with lights in it. I had gone caving one night in West Virginia. We went all the way to the end of the cave and turned off our lights. It was complete darkness and silence. No stimulation for the senses at all. It was empty and terrifying. After sitting in silence for a while, we came out of the cave on a moonless night in the middle of a farmer’s field with no electric lights. The stars were lighting up the heavens in their vast array. And in the middle of the field was a huge oak tree. It was covered with fireflies. More beautiful than any sparkling Christmas tree you have ever seen. It took my breath away. I was filled with joy. I knew there was a God and that he promised goodness for all people.
When I told this story, the person who asked me to describe God was disappointed because he thought I would talk about a person since God became a man in Jesus and dwelt among us.
The travelers did pay homage to the baby Jesus. They were glad to meet him, but just looking at the star flooded them with great happiness.
Here at Koinonia we have all sorts of opportunities to look on the grandeur of God: a pecan tree, a sunset, a thunderstorm, and the faces of each member of the community.
Matthew tells the story of the travelers because he wants to emphasize that this baby was born for the salvation of all people. He didn’t come just for the chosen Jewish people. He was also the Savior of the people from the East.
Like the stars in the heavens that are so vast in number, Jesus comes to all of us. We experience him in different ways. We are all on a journey, seeking him. May we be flooded with great happiness at the coming of this baby Jesus into our lives.

written and delivered by
Elizabeth Dede
Koinonia Farm 
1324 GA Hwy 49 S Americus,GA 31719 

I really treasure the last section for its simple, clear, spunky writing.  Luckily I asked her for a hard copy for me to savor over the words, right away after her delivery.  She sent it to me as a MW.doc attachment, answering my question in the e-mail text, "I wrote it for Sunday worship. I don't have a larger collection of writings. I tend not to save what I write."
         Tonite after dinner all who wanted stayed for 2 rounds of a game that combines pictionary with telephone, alternating writing and drawing, all the way around the circle.  it's a hoot.  i'm keeping both of the resultant little books that came back to me from my starting line.  collaboratively evolved story in community.
[i think the wi-fi available for visitors here can be as troublesome as that at The Farm.  it's taken me over an hour just to post this (if indeed it posts.  (9:40am in Georgia))]

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