last weekend, geoff and i had the opportunity to sit down with some families with young children in melbourne (part of the red network) and talk about life in mission as a family. a friend, missionary and fellow american, john jensen, had invited us to join him, his wife and daughter to share our experiences - good, bad and redeemed - about mission, working on the margins, community living and the role of children in all of it.
before leaving for this gathering, we had a nice chat to will and lisa samson. at the end of our catching up, we asked them for some advice in this area (it was a rare chance to include other voices of our community in conversations we're having with people over here). they shared several things with us based on years of experience with three children. they said:
1) accept that mistakes will happen and decide that the most important thing you can do is raise your children to be followers of jesus.
2) that we don't believe our own theology sometimes and it requires tremendous trust to live a life of mission with your children.
3) always be brutally honest with your kids (and during the session john and raquel offered the exact same wisdom).
our discussion with this group in melbourne went well (for almost three hours) and folks were open about their fears, hesitations and uncertainties. who knows what god will do with what we had to say about it. if nothing else, we wanted to testify to the rich and abundant life we've experienced in all our years with communality, especially now with children.
as i reflected on the occasion and all the issues to be considered in raising children in a missional community with commitments to god's kingdom ways, this quote from jacques ellul seemed quite relevant (which came from shane's book):
"christians should be troublemakers, creators of uncertainty, agents of a dimension incompatible with society"