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Member Highlight: There Is No Inside

[Editor’s Note: We asked the Rabbit Room Members to send in featured highlights about themselves and what membership means to them, and we liked this one by Rachel Speer Donahue so much that we wanted to share it with you here on the blog.]

Lately I’ve been introducing my teen son to the delights and peculiarities of Dr. Who, so when the call went out for testimonials of what Rabbit Room membership means to us, the first words that sprang to mind were, “It’s bigger on the inside.” However, I had to quickly abandon that train of thought. It’s not at all an accurate representation of the Rabbit Room community. But then I had to ask myself—why?

The answer lies in a concept that Mick and I encountered in cross-cultural training years ago—the idea of bounded sets vs. centered sets.*

A bounded set is a group that is defined by common traits. Things (or people) that share those common traits are inside the circle, while things (or people) that do not share those traits are outside the circle. The group is defined by the boundary of the circle.

A centered set, however, is a group that is centered on a common focal point, and the group is defined by movement toward that center from a variety of other position points on the map.

To say “it’s bigger on the inside” would imply that there is both an inside and an outside and that there is some boundary that can be crossed to go from being an “outsider” to an “insider.” It’s bounded-set thinking. But the Rabbit Room community doesn’t function that way. The Rabbit Room is a centered set, and the focus is namely this: “The Rabbit Room cultivates and curates stories, music, and art to nourish Christ-centered communities for the life of the world.”

Membership is not stepping over a boundary from “outside” to “inside”—membership is, rather, a linking of arms and falling in step with people who are moving the same direction. Rachel Donahue

Because the center of the Rabbit Room is Jesus, creativity, and community, there is no inside or outside to membership. There are simply people who have been here a while, people who have been here even longer, and lonely travelers who have just stumbled upon a jovial caravan that’s headed their direction. Membership is not stepping over a boundary from “outside” to “inside”—membership is, rather, a linking of arms and falling in step with people who are moving the same direction.

If you’re new to the Rabbit Room, just hang around a while. Listen, read, and get a taste of the goodness that is to be found here. The words and music and art and community will shape you in wonderful ways. But don’t think for a second that being new excuses you from getting involved. Be ready for someone to hand you a broom—or a ladle—or a pen—because the work that’s going on here is yours, too.

If you’re going our way, link arms and fall in step with us. Someone just might break out into song.

*For more information about bounded sets vs. centered sets, particularly with regard to the Church, read part 1 and part 2 of this article.

1 Comment

Unknown member
Oct 21, 2023

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