I previously created a blog titled “Modern MonKye” when I was moving to Minnesota almost three years ago. At the time, I was beginning Church of All Nations’ internship in what I thought would be a yearlong program focusing on a “how-to” develop multicultural vision for ministry. Instead, what I found was a multigenerational, racially diverse, ever-changing family who loves and cares for me. In a week, I will move again, and this time to another church building in the hipster part of Minneapolis called Uptown. This church, like the other middle-class, old, white Presbyterian churches in our country are holding to their last bit of life and relevance. After partnering with my mentor, the senior pastor of our church, a young pastor from the Northwest raised the idea of housing young people in the church building. I don’t know exactly when or how it happened, but I “instigated” him enough with the idea of one of the young college-grads of his congregation and me living together at the church. He welcomed the idea because he knew that I wasn’t just talking about two people living together.
Having been raised in our church’s culture of intentional community housing, I have learned there is a big difference from people residing in the same apartment/room and living in intentional community housing. Having read my friend’s paper where he quotes from the relatively recent book Alone Together, I realized how much our generation has been impacted by the delusions of independence, self-sufficiency, and the dream of a middle-class lifestyle. What has become ever present – as I lead up to my 6th move since I moved to the land of many lakes – is that convenience and comfort means very little in comparison to growing meaningful relationships. From house-sitting with two ladies to living with empty-nesters, and from living in a house of eight and now living in a Bible study room in a church basement, I have lived in an array of housing arrangements. This has led me to ask the question, “What is a home?” and “What does it mean to live in intentional community?” I think a home means people, it means my mentor, our staff, my girlfriend, and friends at church. Of course, it includes my blood, as in my mother, sister, extended family, and friends from various chapters of my life. Though, it is more than the sum of experiences and histories I have with a select few people in my life.
Being a 21st century abbot will be difficult because it won’t be what we live through, or what we have or don’t have, but who we are as Christians. Humane-ness has been stripped away with our mansions in gated communities, summer homes/lake houses, and the unquenchable thirst for space and stuff.
I am realizing to recover humanity we must look to the most humane person, that of Jesus Christ. That means understanding how we treat each other in our every day lives. It will mean how much I care or not for my brother who shakes from his own aimlessness, who freaks out at even the thought of what today and tomorrow might bring. The fear of failure, the allure of American exceptionalism, individualism, and materialism all staring at his face so shamefully now as he lives with his parents following graduating from a liberal arts college with a useless degree, and works part-time at a local coffee shop. This is the stranger, friend, disciple I now will care for, just as a priest did many centuries ago. My intention in living communally in Uptown is what I hope to share with you as I write my entries.
Journey with me.
KC Kye is currently serving as an intern for the Presbyterian Multicultural Network for the PCUSA. He also directs the youth at Church of All Nations, serves on the Presbyterian Cross Cultural Young Adult Network, and loves to do anything outdoors.