Nate and I are trying our hardest to buy the house immediately next door. It’s been a bad rental scene for four years, folks peeing off the back porch, peeing in the garden, you name it, they’ve peed there; and since it’s in foreclosure, now is our chance. Besides hoping for better neighbors we are concerned to get in people who won’t turn us in for our six hens, who don’t mind our gardening right up to their house, who like the idea of us bringing in bees. We have friends, good people, faithful people, radical disciple, kingdom people who have shown interest in moving in, who have kids who love to hunt for worms with our girls. We love these people and can’t imagine it actually working out, but it might. We’re willing to not make much money if it means getting them in the house, I’m maybe willing even to lose money, since there’s certainly real value to us in having people like them move in, people who would help us live more faithfully into the ways of God’s Kingdom. We put in an offer, hoping the bank would bite, instead they paved the way for a bidding war by giving others seven days to bid in.

Now the reason I’m writing? I’m behaving like a total freak, more like a worm than a woman. As endless numbers of cheap suits step out of their SUVs to asses this investment opportunity, I’ve corresponded by flying out the front door, half-crazed with a half-dressed baby on my hip,
just to watch,
and then, well, just to ask them if they are buying to live in it or to rent,
and then just to tell them as many horrors as I can come up with
that are true about what’s wrong with this money-hole of a house,
if you can even call it that–
you might want to wash your hands, sir, as you’re leaving, cause who knows. . .

After a few of these encounters, I felt slimy. And so it turns out that even if it’s so that I can learn how to walk in The Way, being creepy is no good, my real estate shenanigans might have even been sinful because I kind felt like I needed to shower, or to confess– i’ll get to that. Real Estate Business, I’m learning is all about being shrewd and playing the game and I’m not up for it.

And then to top it off, tonight at the block party I was asking one of the monastic brothers who live behind us if it would be inappropriate for me to ask God to keep the brothers in the neighborhood, he said, “well that all depends on your theology of prayer doesn’t it?” The thing is, I was just being cute, or nice or something, trying to show my gladness for their presence in our lives. But Mike took me seriously, he always does. And in his response, I realized that I’ve been praying to God this week with a Santa Claus theology.

God, ehem, gimme that house,
you know I’ve been good,
or you know that if I get it it will help me to finally be good,
Gimme that house, God.

O for cryin’ out loud! I talk a pretty good talk about living into the kingdom and about orchestrating my life so that I can finally have enough support to start doing it and then I realize that right in my backyard, literally, live Mike and the brothers who welcome us into their daily worship and who live a radical obedience joyfully and who pray fervently in the spirit for me and my tribe and who throw birthday parties for my children.
Lord teach me to pray like my brothers,
not to a Santa Claus god
but to a Crucified One.

"Miriam and her brothers"

Miriam and her brothers

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