a conversation

I’ve recently been in a conversation with a friend about the possibility of expanding the “brand of communitas” (his words, not mine) to a larger circle of folks in the Phoenix area.  While I’ve back and forth about how I feel about this conversation, my biggest fear has remained that I don’t want to get in the way of the communitas ethos and dreams if they must move far beyond the little band of us who live these ways out in downtown Phoenix.  Below are excerpts from a my most recent response to this conversation.  I’m not sure why I feel it important to document some of my thoughts here, except for the fact that they represent a clear sense of what I’m/we’re here to do.

“I’ve always imagined communitas being a counter-cultural voice among an already counter-cultural people.  I think it would frustrate me to try to bring the ethos we carry to the larger public.”

“The suburbs need this stuff (communitas). They need initiatives that invite them to dream bigger about how they can care for “the other”.  They need to imagine a God that is not just their God, but also the God of the atheist, the lesbian, and the homeless man.  They need to learn how to be present to the places where God is most present.  But I left that world for a reason.  At first it was because in my impatience I couldn’t handle the shortsightedness of it’s people of faith.  But I’ve realized that it’s much more than this. I’ve realized that my place is to be a voice among a different people.  My job is to be a symbol of the kingdom of God in the spaces and places of the forgotten empire and among the simultaneous messiness and authenticity of the city.”

“So I hear your dreams and ideas and get excited for them, but unfortunately not in the ‘I’m in, let’s do this’ sort of way, but in a ‘I believe this needs to happen, so please do it’ way.”

“I feel called to keep things simple, accessible, authentic, honest, and real.  You feel called to expand, to develop, to make better, to make more efficient.”

I am convinced that I will continuously wrestle with what my specific role is in the redemptive plan of God.  I am also convinced that this constant wrestling is much better than never asking the question at all. Far too many of us settle into roles in which we were never meant to fill, and find ourselves far too comfortable to move on.  What is clear (for now), is that the best thing I can do is pay attention to those who have chosen to invest their lives in the work and efforts of communitas.  I must learn to better pay attention to the personalities, stories, and experiences of others as opposed to the multitude of initiatives (read “programs”) we can give birth too.  I can (and have in recent years) get far too busy with activity that I fail to be present to the people that these activities were meant to serve.  I will not do that anymore….as least I will do my best to try.

Taco Day 4 will be livecast on the web

For those of you who don’t live in Phoenix, but want to celebrate Taco Day with us, will be live streaming the event all day on Saturday including some special looks into Taco Day and interviews with guests at every 2 hours starting at 10am. The live stream is also a great way see what’s going on before you head over or after you leave.

Until Saturday, the channel will loop previous Taco Day videos for your TacoDay preparation. We’ll see you at TacoDay4!

a reason for twitter

twitter_logo1I have grown to love twitter.  It’s still seems strange when I say things like this out loud, but I love knowing what my friends (locally & globally are up to) and I love sharing with them (or whoeverelse is interested) what I’m up to.  I have met people who live near me through twitter.  I have learned about issues other are fighting in our city through twitter. And I’ve learned through twitter that there are plenty of people around me who love and care for Phoenix as much as I do.  We even use twitter as a way to send out reminders and updates for communitasPHX.

I have become a twitter evangelist lately, mainly because I selfishly want to know what cool things those I care about are doing and thinking.  But I have found it difficult to convince others to dive into to twitter.  I am not sure why I find such hesitation.  Most seem to view twitter as the “next fad” in social networking (it may be) and are reluctant to migrate their time, energy, and online life from facebook to twitter, just as they did from myspace to facebook not so long ago.  Most fail though to see it’s potential to connect with new people both near and far, both of common interests and of common views.

Buddy and blogger, Jon Reid, today blogged about his discovery rediscovery of twitter through the Flight 1549 crash into the Hudson a few weeks ago.  Twitter’s use during the crash was interesting and the most clear example yet of how twitter is much more “just like Facebook status”.  It is becoming an instant news vehicle.  Those who are experiencing the news (ie. inside the downed plane) can “tweet” the news via their cell phones, iphones, or pdas immediately and the world can (and does) take notice.

If you are still standing of the twitter fence, not sure if it’s for you, take a look at Jon’s perspective and see if he doesn’t convince you.

Twitter curiousty Trigger: Flight 1549 via Blog One Another

By the way…..you can find my personal tweets here, my design company tweets here, and communitasPHX tweets here


griefI’ve discovered that there is an emotional experience I feel from time to time. One in which I lose myself to an introspective and analytical spirit. Until now, I didn’t know it’s root or cause. It is a feeling I’ve known before, one in which I find some odd comfort in.

It is grief.

As dimensions of my false self crumble, I am left to deal with their death. The death of a dream, the death of a belief; today it is the death of control.

I am overwhelmed by the loss of my ability to control the whole of my life. As long as I live in community with others, I now recognize that I do not have the final say in how my story unfolds.

I must discover and come to terms with a new understanding of control. This is the grief I am experiencing.

A Successful 1st Attempt

This past saturday, we hosted the 1st Annual PHX BrewParty. Having gotten into brewing my own beer over the past year as a way to combine two of my interests, creativity & beer, we discovered that a lots of our friends were into the idea as well.  Never wanting to miss a chance to spur the creativity of others (or to take advantage of a perfect creative party idea) we decided to throw a party that would showcase how good homebrewed beer can be, spur a little friendly competition between friends who brew, and spread a little community spirit along the way.

Well, now that the party is behind us, here’s some of the observations:

– it was good

– we had a really good and diverse mix of people (neighbors, friends, friends of neighbors, etc)

– we had some good music. My friend, Dee, and some of his DJ friends, brough it and it kept the party lively and fun.

– the beers were good – the Cream Ale took the prizes, but every beer was different, good, and consumed (we ran out of beer early)

– the labels were great – (having designers brew beer keeps the aestetic high)

– having a front yard party is the way to go – something about it being out IN the neighborhood breaks down the barriers of who IS and who ISN’T invited

– parties should be judged on their ability to unite people who don’t normally rub shoulders and by how well they capture a spirit of hospitality and community. (This is why we LOVE the throw parties)

– We love our neighborhood and the people we share life and proximity with.

– Everyone REALLY seemed to have a good time.  People hung around for a long time.  it was really good.

For those who missed it, here are some photos and videos to give you an idea of what it all looked/felt like:

BrewParty ‘08 Photos via Flickr

BrewParty ‘08 from Zack Newsome on Vimeo..

BrewParty ‘08 from Zack Newsome on Vimeo.

Communitas Site Leaders in PHX

Today, the site leaders from each our sister communitas teams are arriving in Phoenix for a series of conversations about what we’re learning and about the future of our movement.

Doug Humphreys (talking with me in the photo), who leads the San Diego communitas site, Phil Alessi, who leads the New York City (Brooklyn) site, and Mike Brantley, who leads the New orleans site will all be staying at the Newsome Bungalow with our family and we’ll all be sharing a single bathroom :).

While our time together is always rich, I’m especially looking forward to two conversations we’ll be having: How will we creatively fund missional movements like ours in the future? & What would a communitas-hosted (but open-to-all) event look like here in Phoenix next Fall? (the event will be an informal series of conversations around the topics of mission, justice, and creativity)

Anyway – together we’ll be hitting some of the local downtown PHX hotspots. Coffee at LUX, Fair Trade, & Conspire. Meals at Matt’s Big Breakfast, Pizzeria Bianco, & the Paisley Violin.  Drinks at the Roosevelt and the Lost Leaf. & some serious time on the front porch. It all leads up First Friday in which it’s looks like we’re gonna have a killer crew on the front porch for & the guys will get to partake in the craziness, cookiness, and chaos that is First Fridays.

If you’d like to join us for a little party celebrating the monthly First Friday artwalk in downtown PHX, details are here

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