Without “u”, it’s just “commnity”.

Duluth, Minnesota is a pretty awesome city. It’s the smallest city I’ve ever lived in, which hurts when I want to find a Denny’s or a Chilis. But with a population of a little over 84,000 people, it’s big enough. Since I’ve moved to Duluth I’ve met some pretty awesome people. And that’s sweet, because I love meeting and getting to know new folks. It really is my thing. My perfect drug, if you will.

This is me, 1997, forty-three minutes after I discovered the existence of AOL chat rooms.

 Brandi is the same way. I’ve never seen a person strike up a conversation with complete strangers so quickly and easily as she does. I once saw her talking on her cell phone for twenty minutes, laughing and smiling, waving her hands animatedly while holding a cigarette. She was clearly having a good time. When she got off the phone, I asked her who she was speaking to.

“Wrong number,” she answered. True story. She’ll make friends with anyone. I mean it – anyone.

“No, I need my flesh. . . but I might have some chicken thawed if you guys are really hungry!” – Brandi

 I think the fact that we’re both so outgoing helps explain why we decided to throw this blog together. I’ve always enjoyed a good conversation with just about anyone. And as I mentioned in my list about reasons that God is awesome, I believe that when you get to know who someone really is, you start to love them. Now, that isn’t to say that you might not learn to dislike someone once to get to know them – I’m not going to argue against that. But I think that when you know someone well enough, love is a natural result of that knowledge. It puts all of their actions into a perspective that you can understand and maybe even relate to. It feels nice. It makes you feel less alone in the world. Sometimes a random conversation with a complete stranger, perhaps over a bummed cigarette, can turn your whole day around. By and large, people are the best.

In a previous post, I talked about “churchy” things that made me uncomfortable, and a few great conversations resulted from that post. Now to switch it up, I’ll tell you something that I almost immediately took to as I engaged a church-filled life – community. God is all about community. Jesus was a bridge builder. When I first read John’s Gospel, I remember getting to the part where Jesus is on the cross, and his mother is there, watching him die. Jesus, and I’m paraphrasing here, basically nodded toward the Beloved Disciple (possibly John) and said to his mother, “This guy is your son, now.” Then he looked at the Beloved Disciple, nodded toward his mom, and said, “This is your mom.” The man was dying in agony, and he took the time to make sure that his mom and his friend would never be alone again. Building relationships was so important to the Christ that, even though he was about to conclude his business on Earth and send back the Holy Spirit, he wanted to make sure that the people he loved were together, grieving together, getting to know one another better.

That’s why I dig community. I want to get to know more people. And Christ clearly wants that community to grow.

Now, “What the Faith?!?!?” is an attempt by my wife and me to expand our community. We have a distinctive way of communicating, though, and not everyone is down with it. We aren’t part of a web-ring of faith blogs, mostly because I just don’t think that the average faith blog author would care to read a post containing an image of a gun-toting Jesus (a post that includes the word “genitalia,” no less.) I have no idea why, but some people object to that sort of thing.

“Another reference to private parts? On the INTERNET?!?!”

 So maybe we’ve got an uphill battle ahead of us, trying to reach out to new folks via a blog that is too Christian to attract secular people, but too irreverent to attract most mainstream Christians. And maybe we haven’t ever said this officially before (except to God and a few folks at our church) – but we love hearing from new people! The whole point of this blog is to do our part to help build the body of Christ – which, in my theological infancy, I assume is some form of giant robot that God invented to cleanse mankind of sin.

“And I’ll form the head!” Gospel of Voltron, 3:5-6

Can you help? Of course you can. In fact, you can do several things.

1)      Speak up! Tell your story. It’s okay if you don’t know us in real life – online community is the way of the future.

2)      Tell others who you think might like the cut of our collective jib. Brandi and I would love to meet new folks who are as new to faith as we are – or maybe having been doing this all their lives. Also, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, pagans, humanists, or anyone else who is carbon-based. We want to say hi.

3)      Care to post something? Drop a line, let us know. We’d love to host guest bloggers as the occasion arises.

On that note, we’d like to celebrate with you, our friends of “What the Faith?!?!?”. . . we have double our readership! That’s right – we now have 2.8 readers following us!

We’re now a Level 2 blog!

  Thanks so much, dear readers, for joining Brandi and I in this fledgling online community. Whether we know you in real life or are just now meeting you for the first time, we thank you for your comments, your kind words, your tolerance for stupidity, and your readership.

“No, I draw the line at – oh, they’re commenting? Welllll. . .are they carbon-based?”

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About Daniel Mitchell

50% of "What the Faith?!?!", a blog about two skeptics who turned to God for no apparent reason. View all posts by Daniel Mitchell

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