Life in Wonderful Savannah (aka. Pleasantville)

Posted: Apr 4, 2007 in Community, Meaningless, Rants, Spiritual Transformation

Pleasantville House


There is something in the making that I can’t exactly pinpoint. In this day and age when people commute 1.5+ hours, when bigger fences privatize us form our neighbors and neighbor means the guy who argues over the property boundaries, we sit in the midst of a Pleasantville of sorts. Pleasantville was a movie made in 1998 starring Tobey McGuire, Reese Witherspoon, William Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels and a whole mess of other great actors. In this movie, David and Jennifer Wagner (twins) are mysteriously transported into their TV and find themselves in the black and white world of Pleasantville. if you haven’t seen it, i recommend it highly. If you don’t want to see it check out this article to get a gist of its plot and characters. This little town is our little community we call Savannah.


    People in our community have come here with a strong desire to partake in what this community looks like, some sort of Leave it to Beaver community where community is real and relationships can be formed. The trouble is, they don’t know where to start. But they try. Savannah HOA is diligent about creating events and activities for this sort of interaction. The community is built around a centralized clubhouse (aka “the Temple”) where people can enjoy everything from workout facilities, dance, gymnastics, martial arts, ballet and  aerobics classes, fishing, movie theater, basketball, soccer, baseball, paddle boating, swimming (in 1 of 4 pools) and water sliding (down 1 of 2 slides), parks galore, sidewalks everywhere, waterfront properties, dog parks, you name it, it is probably available. It is a place where almost anything is available to the members of the community. And to be sure this is not all bad. Yet, what we find here is conversations and relationships that are dependent upon and centered around the same things. In our Pleasantville, more people gripe about the things they don’t have, the demands the HOA places upon them for upkeep of their houses, their lawns and the restrictions they place on just about everything. Relationships are broken because volunteer HOA committee members are bad mouthed and complained to constantly, which leads both parties down a path of gossip and lies that destroy neighborly relationships. It is an endless cycle that sees no end. It is an endless cycle that even I get sucked into on occasion.

    But wait! Perhaps there is hope for our little Pleasantville. Perhaps, in this little section of the world Christ is moving house by house and through his Spirit working on the lives of people. For on Saturday nights you can find a small gathering of our immediate neighbors, a growing number each week, who choose to sit with one another and grow in Christ. It is a place where the Word breaks forth into the lives of a few, it is a place where true relationships are being formed in the breaking of the bread, Christ’s body and drinking of the wine, Christ’s blood. As each day passes, and we close our eyes having lived each day loving our neighbors, we find that our neighbors are also learning how to love their neighbors. VineLife isn’t about being the marketplace, tough the marketplace principles can and do work for drawing in the crowds. VineLife has not and hopefully never will depend on high-end mailers, a bigger building, a multipurpose building, more events, etc. While I am not knocking any of these things in our churches, I wonder why we need to create these avenues when we have them just down the street already. Instead, VineLife is about the Randalls, the Lowes, the Nelsons, the Husseys, Amy and Todd, Tiphany, the Kecks, the Browns and the McDaniels all living in Christ, learning to love our neighbors and teaching them how to do the same.

    Discipleship for VineLife is about loving God, loving neighbor and raising up followers who will do the same. Is it possible for it to be that simple? We are placing our faith in it. God bless the work you have prepared for your people. Amen.


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