December 12, 2018

Escaping the Wilderness: Part 5 – Crab-Apple Rhubarb Jam, and why part of me never left the Evangelical world

Lately I have been in a creative phase where I have enjoyed making boutique jams. I have make thirty seven jars of Black-raspberry, chokecherry, wild grape, wild grape – chokecherry, or crab-apple rhubarb at various times over the summer and fall. Recently I was visiting my parents home about an hour away. I noticed that their crab-apple tree was laden with fruit, and immediately my thoughts went to trying to make crab-apple jam or jelly. Also visiting was a relative, Nigel Paul, the founder of MoveIn.To, a “movement of regular Christians prayerfully moving in among the unreached, urban poor.” I suggested that I was interested in picking the crab apples, and Nigel volunteered to help.

As we spent the next hour picking the crab-apples, we chatted away on numerous topics, including some of Nigel’s immediate and longer term plans. I walked away from our conversation thinking – Nigel is one of the reasons why part of me has never left the Evangelical world.

Ten years ago, Nigel had a vision to “Move-In”. To intentionally live simply in a poor neighborhood in order to be salt and light to those around him. Nigel spread the word about what he was doing, and encouraged others to join him. The idea was that people who were students, or working regular jobs, or retired, would intentionally move into communities where they could make a difference. This would not be an expensive proposition. People would be doing what they would normally doing in their academic or work lives, but they would be intentional about where they lived.

And join they did, in less than ten years there are now 400 move-iners across 37 cities and 14 countries. Much of his family has gotten involved, for example, his sisters have moved with their spouses to a slum in Indonesia, where they are providing an education to the neighborhood children.

Nigel himself chose to live in a large apartment complex holding about 5000 people, many of them new immigrants to Canada. He, and his fiancee at the time Jessie, invited every one of them to their wedding, followed by a pot luck dinner to be held on the front lawn of the apartment. About 1000 friends and neigbors took them up on the offer.

In my own city I see similar examples to this, my own heroes of the faith, so to speak.

I see Dwayne C. organizing sports programs for inner city youth, and creating and delivering Christmas gift baskets to the needy.
I see Alison W. setting up a home where new refugees can stay until they get established.
I see Greg R. facilitating churches working together to meed the needs of those around them.
I see Chris W. encouraging youth to make a difference in people’s lives.
I see Don C. heading up a “reading and running” program in the elementary schools.
I see Al and Karen C. establishing training and counseling programs for homeless youth.

I see other friends reaching out, and helping out across the country and around the world.

Many of my friends think differently to me. Theologically I may not fit in. But we all share a love for the same God, and trust in his son Jesus. That binds us together with a cord that is not easily broken.

I will leave you with one final thought.

Last year Nigel and Jessie tried something new. Knowing that many of the poor in the world have just one dollar a day to spend on food they decided that they would take one week a year where they did the same. The money they saved from their regular budget that week they would donate to ministries that work with the poor. It can be a challenge, as Nigel and Jessie found, when the chicken carcasses they bought for $1.50 and planned to use as part of three meals, were in fact rotten. It gave them a sense of what it means to be truly poor, when something like happens, and you have no alternatives, you go hungry.

Again they are encouraging others to join them. They are at the end of their week for this year, but if others wanted to join for a later week I am sure they would welcome them. They can be found at dollaraday.global.

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Oh, and the crab-apple rhubarb jam? It turned out great!

Comments

  1. Good thoughts Michael.
    I’d like to sample that jam!

  2. Great article and I am considering joining them to help. The only thing I can say is given what Mother Teresa did and other non evangelical people through history, I see this more of why I am Christian rather than evangelical.

    • Michael Bell says:

      I agree. Given that my ties to Mother Teresa are somewhat limited, and knowing that I have people in Evangelicalism that I hold in high esteem helps me connect to the movement.

  3. Michael Z says:

    I lived in a Christian intentional community for a few years before I got married, and my wife and I hope to move back into one some day soon. In terms of economic discipleship, it’s a much more responsible way of living than having single families alone in large suburban houses. And, it’s also just a lot of fun to live with a group of friends who you can pray with, play games with, share meals with, etc. (I miss being able to go to the fridge and try leftovers cooked by any of six different people, to add a bit more variety to my lunch!)

  4. Christiane says:

    “Ten years ago, Nigel had a vision to “Move-In”. To intentionally live simply in a poor neighborhood in order to be salt and light to those around him. Nigel spread the word about what he was doing, and encouraged others to join him. The idea was that people who were students, or working regular jobs, or retired, would intentionally move into communities where they could make a difference. This would not be an expensive proposition. People would be doing what they would normally doing in their academic or work lives, but they would be intentional about where they lived.”

    I LOVE this.
    sounds like Nigel’s vision was almost something Franciscan in nature: to go and live among the poor and serve them, only Nigel’s way is to be intentionally ‘with’ the poor as a ‘neighbor’ and maybe a ‘friend’

    reminds me of the city work of the Grey Friars of the Renewal that Father Groeschel lived with before his passing, except his work was in shelters the Friars provided and served in;
    yet, still, I think Nigel might also have something of a Franciscan spirit 🙂

    St. Francis was a reformer in his day.

  5. senecagriggs says:

    Update on the NON- Evangelical religious world – National Council of Churches.

    Interesting;

    https://juicyecumenism.com/2018/10/05/massive-national-council-of-churches-arises/

  6. What Nigel and these people are doing is so far out of my comfort zone as to be scary to contemplate about replicating. Yet I see they are far more like Jesus than I am.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      There is a moderate middle road, maybe closer to your comfort zone: move into a smaller older home in a lower income neighborhood? Upsides: (1) you can save a lot of money, (2) good investment opportunities [property in low income communities actually appreciates more rapidly from renovation than property in already expensive places], (3) you might meet new people and have a lot of fun. Essentially the old “starter home”, just a step down from where you might, by default, choose to “start”.

    • If they can accommodate a live-in GM and allow D&D games every week, I’d be in in a heartbeat. 😉

  7. Dana Ames says:

    Same for me, Michael B. Most of my Evangelical friends are better Christians than I, in terms of actually giving their lives to others. I hope I can follow their example of following Christ, to some degree at least.

    I’m home now – and I’m grateful for all the waystations God has provided along the path. There has been something of his love, for me and the world, in each one.

    Dana

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