So when people ask us about becoming members of the Charis247 community, we answer with this story:

A young boy, ten years old is adopted into a family. At first he is cautious and guarded. He has been through foster homes, he has been disillusioned and hurt. Sometimes he was little more than an extra laborer around the house. Now he’s here.

He doesn’t know this family or what it means to be a part of them. He can’t really grasp experientially or trust that he is fully a member of them and completely accepted. He won’t take the family name. He says “don’t call me Timmy Johnson, my name is Timmy Murphy.”He sees the other children given chores to do and he thinks, “they won’t get me to work for them.” He thinks the other kids do their chores because they’re too afraid to not do them, or are just brainwashed.

But his family loves him whether he takes their name or not. They accept him as a full member of the family whether he does chores or not.  They tell him that they are simply happy that he is with them. Eventually, their love wins him over. One day he comes to his father and asks if he can have a chore like the others. “Oh”, he says, “and it’s okay if you call me Timmy Johnson”

What has happened? Nothing has changed from the perspective of the family. He was always accepted, always a part of them. But now what has changed is his ability to recognize that love and to respond to it. He wants to know what it means to function as a family member, to share in the full life of that family. His response is an act of love. He has made a decision to truly “take on” their name.

Now he is ready to claim them.

We have no membership contracts here at Charis. We prefer not to make any distinction between who is a Charis “member” and who is not, because we want you to know that you are accepted as a part of this community right now. It doesn’t have anything to do with what you do. When you are here, you one of us.  But for those who are ready, we want to offer the opportunity for you to claim us. To take the name. To adopt the family rhythms. I mean, we’re all adopted anyway.

What does that mean? It means joining in our community practices. 1, 2, 3, 4