“It has been said that there is no true person unless there are two entering into communication with one another. The isolated individual is not a real person. A real person is one who lives in and for others. And the more personal relationships we form with others, the more we truly realize ourselves as persons.” Kallistos Ware
A time, a place, and a friendship.
We all need friends, and actually really good ones are hard to find. People whom you can be real with and they with you. They are not going to lecture you, they just sit and listen.
I have found that you can’t force meaningful relationships to occur, they don’t just automatically happen. You won’t find a program or course to teach this type of relationship. It’s made up of lots of decisions to actually keep pressing into friendship.
It was what I was looking for and I found it.
I have a couple of mates I meet with each week for lunch. It’s an hour long, and we drink coffee, eat lunch and solve all of the world’s problems, well sort of.
A few years ago I watched the T.V. drama ‘Boston Legal’. It was one of those quirky comedy dramas that drew the viewer into the lives of some equally quirky characters.
My favourite scenes were at the end of the show where on the balcony of the legal firm, Crane, Poole & Schmidt, the two lead actors would sip whisky, smoke cigars and ponder the day. The topics mused over were life, love and everything in between.
Alone on their balcony they were free from others listening into their conversation. They were able to talk about whatever they liked and be politically incorrect.
We call our time ‘Balcony’, but we don’t drink whisky or smoke cigars.
It’s not …
- A Bible study group, but we do talk about faith and theology from time to time.
- An accountability group, but we do challenge and stretch other.
- A formula for success, but we are considering a book launch for the ‘Purpose Driven Balcony Shack of Jabez’.
- A church program. It’s natural, non-programmed, and there are no work books! We don’t have a logo, a brand or an eye catching video to tug your heart.
- A prayer group, but we do pray for each other when we get the nudge.
- A place of rules.
- A hierarchy.
It is …
- A place where we often talk about nothing really serious at all.
- A place where we can be relationally honest with each other.
- A place that helps to set the context for the week, causing us to pause and ponder the week.
- A place where ‘something’ occurs through just spending time together.
- A place that when a crisis comes, we know that we have friends who will listen and then continue to listen. We know each other well enough that it’s safe to explore each other if needed.
Is it good? Oh, yes indeed.
Coffee, conversation, and camaraderie.
We all need these, but how?
How do you form this type of community?
- Find a couple of friends that you feel ‘safe’ with, and that you would like a regularly meet with.
- Keep it small and exclusive. Three people are enough. Relationships won’t deepen if there are too many involved, and if people float in and out.
- Get a name. You don’t have to use the name ‘Balcony’. In fact we would encourage you to find your own name. Having a name gives the time together an identity and significance.
- Have a common time and a common place. Make it the same time and place, it just makes things predictable.
- Keep the time relationally focused. The intent is to have relationship – nothing more and nothing less.
Please, don’t make this into a church program! We don’t need more programs.
I wonder if Father, Jesus and Spirit enjoy ‘Balcony’?
Where do you find community, and who with?
Barry Pearman Image