being a part of this intentional community has raised many questions for us about how it is we express our fidelity to God, each other, and this place called lexington, kentucky. we can take our love for God on the road and we can even honor our commitment to people we live far away from (in a sort or email-y, phone call-y, diminished way). however, it seems to me one of the most difficult things to do is vow fidelity to a place. making a covenant with God expressed in an unwavering commitment to a particular place seems like a reckless act that undermines opportunity for bigger and better things and places. we all want to keep our options open. hyper-mobility is a treasure of this age so to say that one is sticking around "till death do us part" is a very provocative and offensive act. i hasten to point out that i think staying with intentionality is a qualitative leap from sticking around because it is easier or makes sense. 'staying', done well, is a energy-drenched-action that requires every bit as much determination and willingness to be unsettled as does 'going'. you might even say that in this time of unparalleled mobility, staying (with intentionality) is the new going. will has suggested that one of the most daring things we can do as missionaries is to tell our neighbors that we are going to be living next to them "till death do us part". a powerful challenge.
So, i was interested to read this article in the New York Times that suggests closing doors of opportunity might actually be the most sane thing to do. here's a clip from the piece and you can read the whole article here. closing doors and welcoming continuity in our living situations might be an important missional ethic for the church that is emerging - but it might be one of the most difficult.
So what can be done? One answer, Dr. Ariely said, is to develop more social checks on overbooking. He points to marriage as an example: “In marriage, we create a situation where we promise ourselves not to keep options open. We close doors and announce to others we’ve closed doors.”
Or we can just try to do it on our own. Since conducting the door experiments, Dr. Ariely says, he has made a conscious effort to cancel projects and give away his ideas to colleagues. He urges the rest of us to resign from committees, prune holiday card lists, rethink hobbies and remember the lessons of door closers like Xiang Yu.