The Vouse has landed in Minneapolis to visit family and friends. It feels strange to not be on the road, and not to be in the vouse. (The heat and humidity here have made us glad not to be in it).
Plans are to fly back to Colorado to visit Laura's folks, to attend a friend's wedding, and to help drive Brian up to Minnesota to start his trip. The past few weeks were spent at a lake cabin with the Naglak relatives and sailing with John's parents, brother and a friend around Duluth for a few days. We're now back in Minneapolis for another week and a half, hoping to catch up with some friends here and tell about our travels and hope to be an encouragement to them. The Lord hasn't given us any bigger picture plans, and it's a struggle to turn to the Lord for every little thing while staying put.
Living in the vouse was something the Lord called us to - a big learning experience about dependence on Him. He has provided for all our needs, all the bills have been paid, we stayed warm last winter, and were able to have free time to spend on encouraging friends and learning how to relate to Him and each other better. While our "minamalist" lifestyle might be kind of trendy, we didn't do it just cause we thought it would be cool to be hippies living in a van and feel good about ourselves in what we could do without. We hope we haven't come across as judgmental or above anyone for our choices. We try and take Matthew 6: 19-34 seriously - we want Him to be our treasure, for we "cannot serve God and money" or "be anxious about [our] life". We hope to share this idea with other Christians. What can they give up to the Lord? How can they let Him be sufficient enough? To ask Him about the "stuff" in their life. Is is being used to glorify Him or would it be better to give it up or sell it to the poor? We feel God has let us keep our outdoor equipment in order to bless other people by taking them on adventures. This was a big part of our time in Gunnison - taking people xc-skiing, mountain biking, rock and ice climbing.
The frustrating thing is many non-christians seem to be more on board with this communally invested lifestyle than Christians. The green movement has brought up people who want to involve community in helping each other. We've encountered initiatives like community gardens, the hourdollars service exchange, Food Not Bombs, and many other innovative ideas that spark our interest. However, these organizations don't bring people to Christ. Conversely, Christians don't seem to galvanize worldly people the way these do.
Christians aren't cool in popular culture, partly because Christ doesn't care about being hip to the world's standards, but possibly because Christians seem hesitant to embrace "grassroots" ministry efforts. We think there a need for more Christians to pursue a diversity of ministry opportunities based on the leading of the Spirit, within the accountability of their local family of believers. Many Christians seem to want to seek out larger existing ministries or organizations. These have a larger budget and an organizational structure. Not to say these ministries aren't effective or good, they are, but we wish many more christians would see the needs around them and just jump in and start meeting them. We as believers don't need authorization from larger groups or to wait around until a budget appears (God will provide for what you need to do, if it's His will) in order to best bring Christ to those around us; we need the leading and the power of the Holy Spirit and the support and accountability of the Word and the Body.
People want something new and innovative to be excited about. Christianity is viewed as ancient and stuffy. We have a God who is more creative then anyone has imagined; more exciting then anyone has ever experienced. How can each of us who believes in him make him REAL in our community?