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Archive for May, 2010

And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.  Matthew 7:3-5

As we seek to demonstrate God’s kingdom here at Koinonia, we are all too often reminded of our human imperfections. And we can be all too eager to point out what’s wrong with a person’s behavior or a new idea before appreciating the good.

I’ve been in so many meetings that revolved around problems. Identifying the problem. Proposing solutions to the problem. Identifying problems with the proposed solutions…and onward until we can’t remember the original problem very well and we have several new issues branching off from there. And as the issues continue to branch out, we come up with an entire tree of “what’s wrong.” The thick foliage often shades out anything that has gone right, and suddenly we can’t see the glory of life’s forest for the row of seedling complaints we have lined up.

It seems so much easier to complain about things that don’t go right than to notice all the things that have worked out well. When we fall into a gripe session at my house, my husband and I call each other back by asking, “So what’s good?” This simple sentence helps us re-focus and stops the cycle of complaining dead in its tracks.

But here’s the tricky part: my definition of what’s good could be the opposite of what you think is good. In fact, I could have just been complaining about something that another Koinonian would name as their “good”, maybe even as their “best.” So how do we move forward without taking our diverse range of experiences and opinions and turning them into personal conflicts?

My mother comes to visit Koinonia often, and she’s very good at listening as I process all the happenings of the community. She too has a very subtle, effective way of telling me when I’m complaining and focused on the problem. She simply says, “Sounds like it’s time to work on your own log.” Not always what I want to hear, but it always calls me back to what I can change: my own thoughts and actions.

I have permaculture on the brain since participating as a student in our last Design Course, and a favorite permaculture axiom comes to mind: “The problem is the solution.” Notice it doesn’t say, “The problem will lead you to a solution.” The problem is the solution. Thinking this way leads me into a new appreciation of everything around me, and challenges me to spend more time in observation than in blindly trying to change the minds of others. With this outlook, even the log in my own eye becomes an asset, as I get the chance to learn and grow, then share my process with others when they are struggling with similar things.

What’s good at Koinonia? Everything. All the time. Because God is here among us, even when we can’t see the beautiful forest for all our trees full of complaints.

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