Ekklesia/Dallas

Don’t You Forget About Me…

December 29, 2008
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Hurrah! This is a blog first. A boy has written a post… and it was unsolicited. Even better! I would pay attention to this fella, he’s a seminiarian. (!) Also, anyone who references The Breakfast Club is a winner in my book.

Blogger: Marcus Toussaint

Handsome devils.

Handsome devils.

At Tyler’s birthday bash.

L to R: Marcus, Krystal, Tyler

Marcus rocks out, makes coffee, sells hiking boots, talks to animals, and goes to seminary…in that order.

Hometown: Highland Village

Favorite Verse: 1 Tim. 2:15 ; )

Favorite Coffee Drink: Adam Bomb…I guess.

Currently reading: What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

Job: Barista/REI Sales Expert

Perspective:

I think in order to understand “community” we need to break the word down into its fundamental derivations.  Community comes from the root “commu”, which I think is an Indian yak-god, and the suffix “nity” from which we get the modern “dirty” as in, “nitty-gritty”.  This means that truly being a community means being a people that embrace dirty yak-goddishness.  …I think this is good scholarship.

I’m kidding of course, but you would be surprised at how some people come up with things; in fact, the word “ekklesia” in the Bible may not mean what we think it does–there is debate over what it means to be “the church”. But there always has been.  Likewise, there has always been debate about what “community” consists of.  In lieu of the cultural dissolution of the family and the overwhelming isolation that our fierce Western individualism has born in the past century, we Americans in particular greatly need to be shown how to “live life together”.  We need examples of what God has “assembled” us for.

Fortunately, few things communicate the aches within us like Hollywood.  While there are numerous movies to pull examples from, I’m going to focus on just two that I think not only rock, but always speak to me about what community looks like.

The first is the essential 80’s flick The Breakfast Club.  I’ve got to admit, at first I didn’t see what was so legendary about this conveyance of high school lethargy…but after awhile it struck me.  A group of token kids from every clique you knew growing up is forced to do detention together only to learn that they have something in common:  they are all terribly messed-up.  The jock hates his overbearing dad, the devil-may-care Goth chick is really insecure, the perfect cheerleader isn’t so perfect after all…  Through a rather painstaking process where they’re subjected to a central authority, they learn to embrace each other for who they are and walk out as friends (There’s even a dance at the end…Biblical!).  Obviously, the analogy breaks down at some points; the principal is a cast-iron jerk, and God is not.  But isn’t it a great picture?  Living in community is difficult because people are not like you; they’re weird, awkward, insecure, of different ethnicities or socio-economic backgrounds. The main (perhaps the only) thing that makes it possible is that what we have in common is ultimately stronger and more meaningful than all our differences: our God.  This is a truth worth living out.

The other film I have in mind is one of my favorites from the past year or so, Lars and the Real Girl. The movie was slower than it had to be, but I think it begs fruitful contemplation. I won’t spoil too much. In his own safe, self-inflicted isolation, Lars has slowly gone nuts in his small town.  But all that begins to change when his new girlfriend, an anatomically-correct sex doll (whom he imagines to be a prudent former-missionary), arrives in the mail.  Lars is inseparable from his real girl, and the fact that she might be imaginary is crazy-talk, no matter who says so.  Now, Lars’ family and the townspeople could send him away to an asylum, view him as the village pariah, or at least relentlessly mock him, but they don’t.  Instead, out of love for Lars, they treat his doll like she is real…not to humor his fantasy, but to help him.  They embrace him through his myopic self-centeredness, and over time open him up to find healing.  I won’t spoil the ending, but it is a great picture of the redemptive value of community.  To say, “We love you for who you are, but we also love you enough to not let you stay that way”.

We need people to show us the areas of insanity in our lives while loving us through them, and we need a diverse community of believers that breaks the artificial barriers we build and reveals Jesus Christ as superbly valuable in this world.  It’s something worth fighting our own insecurities for.

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Malatya

December 3, 2008
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I believe a lot of living in community is knowing of what is happening outside of your own community of faith.

I had dinner with Steve “Hoose” Husmann the other night. He’s been a good friend of mine since freshman year shenanigans back at UT. If we are counting years, that would be 6 years. Wow. Anyway, it was great catching up. We talked about missions, our callings in life [or rather, lack of knowing] and faith in general. Steve’s been working on a documentary project called Malatya, named after the city in Turkey. It talks about the first Christian martyrs that were tortured and slain in April of 2007. If you attend Austin Stone Community Church, then you probably heard a lot about this, as teams from the church have been sent there and pastors close to the church are there in Turkey. Anyway, its a project about awareness, never-ceasing faith and the sovereignty and faithfulness of a loving God. Its an project that should drop you to your knees in prayer.

Memorial

So I got home, popped the DVD into my laptop. I was curious to see what kind of filmmaking came from one of my most beloved, crazy friends… I was even more curious to see the commentary of Steve and Nolan, the film student that actually filmed it. What I saw moved me more than I had expected, especially at 1am. These were interviews with individuals that had not lost hope or faith because of the tragedy. Instead, they were encouraged and extending grace. And not in the way where we know we are supposed to because we are Christians i.e. “She really hurt my feelings when she stole my boyfriend so I’m going to say I forgive her. Then I’ll look all holy and stuff.. Yeah.” They actually forgave the Turks that were responsible. They are ready and willing to stand up for the Church, which, in Turkey, is a slight fraction of the whole population.

Are we willing to stand up for the Church here in America, where we cannot get thrown in jail or killed for saying we believe in Christ?

Please visit the website as developments occur. They are in the beginning to mid-stages of this project so any support, whether financial or spiritual, would be greatly appreciated! They, nor the Austin Stone Community Church, will be receiving any proceeds or profits- any monetary contributions are going directly into the project.