I’m sitting across the street from a blinky-light vacancy sign. It’s 1:12 and 7C. The sound of the pastry refrigerator cycles a reciprocating humdrum to accompany our books and tea, laptops and coffee. My mind crawls backward, through a tunnel of days gone by. The week that Mr. Mumby came to town was a slow train coming.
Coming together weekly bonds us. Lately we’ve engaged in collective silence for a couple hours. But Kayle Mumby came, a wandering vagabond, to break the silence. He spoke of angels, a pillar of fire in his back yard, the urgency of Truth, and our responsibility to be agents of justice in this world. We sat and took it all in, deciphering meanings of words, and weighing the rational with faith.
The angel said, “Fresh fire!!! fresh fire!!! fresh fire!!! Tell the people!” He motions with his index finger rigid. “Tell the people, the fire may seem to be withdrawing. But it only withdraws under the door to collect itself, as in a back draft. Do not lose hope. This year it will explode out, and the door will be destroyed. There’s oil in the fire.”
There was a tension in the air. How does one receive a prophetic message? Some of us have had experiences in the charismatic church, which now leave us disillusioned. Some of us come from more stoic upbringings, so some prophetic words sound very weird. But all pasts aside, the message was sure, and simple. What are we to contest in the encouragement from a friend? He says, “I travel around the world, telling people about you; that you lay down your lives for each other.” Those words are not the kind that one plays fast and loose with. It’s quite a thing to say about a group of people. I immediately felt, that I do not live up to such a statement. But who decides? Am I to bring all my energies to bear on my friend, convincing him that I surely am a wretch? That we are hardly worthy of such praise? Since these words were spoken in our hearing, I’ve been looking for their fulfillment from friends around me, and not been disappointed in the least. So then, together, we wait for the fire.
More words, “We talk of Faith Hope and Love, but we talk more about faith and love, and hope has just been tagging along. Friends, keep hoping.” In a place of stalled momentum, these words were fresh water in the desert. In the past, we’ve shared our individual ideas of what “The Project” is actually about. We are as yet unclear as to what this will become, or grow into. But we don’t speak as much anymore about what may or may not be. Instead, our meetings are located in the moment, curious, looking after one another, listening to one another, opening our ears to The Spirit. We pursue obedience without clinging to the results.
In particular Kayle spoke of our duty as Christians to do the work of The Kingdom of God. He mentioned abortion and human trafficking as two key issues that burn inside him. I think this is part of the tension experienced that night… How do you respond when someone you respect challenges you with uncomfortable realities? How do we respond to Reality/Truth, with all its inconveniences? It’s less painful, seemingly less costly to turn the T.V. on and forget about all that.
Surely we don’t pursue such a close quarters living arrangement at the Atangard because it is convenient. It could be fun, and relatively cheap, and maybe original, but it won’t often be convenient. Are we trying to prove something? Well, this is a question I leave unanswered. You may even protest my asking it. But my brother, my sister, regardless if our motives are pure or tainted, our vision distorted, here is our hope: this is not our Project, it is Jesus’.
Speaking for myself, Kayle’s coming and going was a catalyst. Four weeks later, I’m living in the wake of that week. Some people resonate with such Truth, that if you merely brush shoulders with them, even for a moment, you can’t help but be changed for the better.