Forces of Nature Forcing Community

January 12, 2009

Current Listening: "St. Martin de Porres" from Mary Lou Williams' "Black Christ of the Andes"

It snowed last night into this morning, sending our neighborhood into it’s ritual parking mayhem: shoveling out and protecting one’s newly-freed parking spot from those unappreciative motorists that would trample on the hard work put into snow removal.  This protection is done by any object within reach and includes (but is certainly not limited to): orange road cones, lawn chairs, plastic coolers, table lamps, cardboard cutouts of Spiderman etc.  We actually heard tale this morning of a family that has made a tradition of marking their spot with a table adorned with a tablecloth and champagne glasses!!!

So when I woke up and surveyed the situation I decided to make the sad declaration to Suzy that, rather than shovel out the car and find a scarecrow wearing a Richard Nixon mask to keep watch, we had to take the bus to church.  Who could have predicted that we would have actually met, for the first time, other South Boston residents that attend the Vineyard?  Now we know a few more really nice members of our faith community who happen to reside in our residential community.

Steven Johnson, in his book on emergent theory, thinks of urban/metropolitan areas as complex living organisms and is almost reverential for the sidewalk as their communicative vehicle.  He generally frowns on the “personal bubble” created by automobile commuting, since there’s so much to be discussed on sidewalks, buses and subway trains.  Johnson believes that our body language alone is enough to transmit and receive significant information about ourselves and our surroundings.  And I’m sold.  Maybe not sold enough to entirely forsake the ease of tossing my gear in the car and getting to church in 10 minutes, but perhaps there’s a new spiritual discipline in the making, what with Lent on the horizon and more snow in Tuesday’s forecast.


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