Intro to Watsonopolis

There was one who once said crazy things like, give your possessions to the poor, let your light shine, go to the ends of the earth, love God, love your neighbor, serve, pray, die and live. Those words, the words of Jesus, have gripped and shaped our lives.

Because of Jesus’ life, challenge and love we are propelled into an amazing life journey; a journey that most often finds us pitching our tent among the poor and those on the margins of our world, serving, living, teaching, learning and loving there.

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  A couple of weeks ago I made my way to the Philly area with fellow Living Hopers, young adult pastor JR Rozko (in the orange shirt) and our dynamo intern Ben Kaplowitz (in the hip sunglasses).  We were heading up to a seminar on Living Missionally in Suburbia hosted by a happening little church north of Philadelphia.  Al Hsu, author of Suburban Christian was leading the gathering.  Good stuff.  Helpful for a guy like me who's been living neck deep in the city's innerds for the past bunch of years.  

any way all that's not the point of this post.  we flew up on a friday and flew back on a saturday.  a quick trip.  but we got to spend the afternoon and evening with Chris and Cassie Haw who live in Camden, NJ and are a part of the Camden Community; one of several intentional communities that are loosely networked with the New Monasticism movement.  Lisa and I have known the Haws for several years and are fellow members with them in the Relational Tithe (which really needs a blog post of its own).  Chris also recently co-authored a book, Jesus for President, with another friend of the Watsons, Shane Claiborne.  Good stuff.  Challenging, but good. 

Although we've been friends for a while, lisa and I really haven't ever had a chance to spend an extended amount of time with them.  This trip afforded me that opportunity.  

The Haws and their community members Melissa, Andrea and others for the past several years have pitched their tent in a neglected and abused neighborhood.  And in that place they've sown seeds of hope.  Literally.  Community gardens (see video below), urban farmer programs, art projects and housing renovations are just a few of the hope-seeds that have taken root in the once polluted soil and exhales promise into the Camden neighborhood.  

Chris & Cassie opened their home to me, JR & Ben.  We shared a meal with them and other community members.  They took us to have water ice, which is the best slushy-custard dessert on the planet.  I wish i had one now.  The fixed breakfast for us and sent us off to the Suburbs with full stomaches, full spirits and full of hope in the God of Redemption.  

Camden Community Garden from Matthew Watson on Vimeo.

Chris, Cassie, Camden Community, thanks for loving on us, extending hospitality to a few folks from Memphis.  

Reader Comments (2)

Hey brother, being someone that wants to live Missionally in Suburbia I am looking for a word from ya’ll that attended. Some starting thoughts?

September 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJim S

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December 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkyowxg kyowxg

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