The Drunk Monk
Those of you unfamiliar with Big Brother or from overseas will maybe not relate to everything I will blog this week, but I am sure you will glean something from my thoughts on community later. Big Brother as a concept fascinated me when it first hit the screens. Twelve housemates all strangers thrown into a house watched 24/7. The tantrums, the struggles, the highs, the lows, every conversation, all heard, all seen. No secrets. One by one the house mates are evicted until a champion is found. I enjoyed the first couple of series but then got bored. But this year my interest was revived when I heard about the possibility of a friend going into the house for the final ever series. Dave Vaughan. Pursuer of God, the supernatural, the wild, the wonderful, getting intoxicated in the Holy Spirit. When he was chosen I was blown away, his journey then for the next 77 days was incredible. I followed his journey every day. Watched him enter the house dressed as a monk, saw people misunderstand him for some of his beliefs, but then saw how he brought so much love into the home. So much love that he won the public hearts in so many ways, surviving four possible evictions to finally finish as runner-up to the lovely Josie from Cornwall (another fellow Celt). Dave if you ever read this I honour you. I know we ran together loads at one point and then our paths took slightly different directions, but I am so glad to count you as a friend and companion on this adventure and journey of life. As you would say ‘I love you man!’
I just want to draw together a few thoughts and reflections that I have gathered as I have watched Big brother 2010. I know many fellow traveller’s have watched because Dave was on there and I think that was a God thing. We were seeing a prophetic act worked out right in front of our faces each day, broadcast by the media. Not hidden away on a God channel, but mainstream. In my eyes a picture of community. A stark difference from the consumer type community of what we call church, which I think is so unbiblical and ungodly. Finding a Spiritual home for ME and MY family. Sitting under a preacher that I like, worshipping the way I want to, going where I GET something out of it. Sometimes driving for miles to find that perfect church where I feel at home with people just like ME. After all birds of a feather must flock together. This is nothing but feeding and breeding a selfish society of believers. Ekklesia life was never supposed to be about take it was always about giving. It was not about what I get out of it, it was about what I could give to it. It is about people learning to love one another and contributing towards change together. The Big Brother house was a great example of this. Different people with different personalities, different belief systems, different dreams and hopes, but all having to contribute to living together. There are some who cannot cope with this who struggle and sometimes leave the house. Others who are more selfish and do not contribute get nominated for eviction. The talk is often about what do people give to the house. Their community.
What do we give to our community?
Definition of community
According to Wikipedia; ‘a group of interacting species sharing an environment or common location.’ Although the definition is debated by sociologists with 94 discrete definitions of the word by the mid 1950′s. I love it that it is hard to pin down, very Holy Spirit like that word. It is derived from the latin communitas from two words, cum (with/together) and minus (gift). I like that. A gift together. There is something Biblical and godly in that. Has to be stressed that the word community is not in the Bible, but having everything in common is, as is living in communion.
All the lonely people where do they all come from
Someone commented on facebook that they was glad it was all over so they did not have to watch anymore. In one sense I agree, but in other ways I will miss following the lives, losses and loves of not just Dave but everyone in the house. For a believer it was compelling but challenging viewing. These people that Dave spent 77 days with are the people around us everyday. Lost, lonely, without a shepherd. Hurting, just looking for a spark of fun and life. From the girl of low self-esteem like Josie, to the ticking time-bomb of John James. From the life of Riley like Ben, to the man of the street like Nathan. From the man who has seen it all like Steve, to the one’s who have only seen themselves like Corin. From those finding themselves through youthful years like Andrew, to those who have found themselves and have come out as gay like Mario. These people are outside our doors. They are our community. We need to learn to love these people, live with these people and share our days experiences with these people. It is time to get out of the safe house of church life, that unreal environment that we create for ourselves to be nice and cosy and have a good time for me. Sheltered accommodation for those fearful of real life and real people. It is time to get real with real people and learn a real life of giving in love. Yes they swear ( many Christians that watched Big brother would have heard the f word more times over these ten weeks than for years before), yes they talk about sex and booze, yes they can be irreverent and questioning. But they are real people with real hurts and they are lost. Who will lead them? Who will give them something where there is nothing expected in return? It is about time we stopped going to church and hiding away, and walked out into the community in which we live. Why do you think you live there?
It’s all in the glory
At first the housemates did not know what to make of Dave, but his love and life won them over. If any of them became believers we do not know, but surely it is not all about scalps. It is about sharing Christ. Unconditional love. The longer Dave stayed in the house the more he won the housemates over. Relationships take time and investment. The day of the door-to-door salesmen are over. The day of preaching at them is over. It is time to live amongst them and share the love. Davina (the host presenter) was amazing about the male bonding in this series. Not something rude and suggestive, but love shared amongst men. Men being touchy feely but not sexual. Surely a God thing. Amazing when you consider that Mario was gay, but Dave showed the same touchy feely love to him. It is time for the death of homophobic Christianity. That is another huge subject but we will have to face it. Seeing Mario’s creativity and hurt, we need to embrace one and minister to the other. As Dave said many times, it is all in the glory.
I know many of Dave’s friends were probaly looking for a glory explosion of angelic visitations, gold dust, miracles (who did not want to see Steve get new legs) and everyone getting drunk in the glory. We saw a few glimpses of manifestation in this way but I personally saw something else. IT IS ALL IN THE GLORY. All of it. Community, relationships, people, life, loves, arguments, every action and every conversation was all happening in the glory. The glory is there all the time, especially when we do not see it. And that glory is into lives being transformed. On the Mount of Transfiguration the glory manifested around Jesus, but the walk down the mountain back amongst the sheep without a shepherd was still in the glory. Jesus becoming the manifestation of that glory. We are that manifestation today to those we live and work amongst, our community.
Tonight when I go to Asda, it will be all in the glory!