There is an emerging sense of mission as to why Soul Cafe should exist in Ledbetter. That mission outlook begins to gather around the idea of community. The consensus, the best I am able to judge, is that at Soul Cafe we want to exist to serve the people of our immediate area.

To be even more specific, our service is intended to create community among us. All of us.

The word community is used to describe all kinds of groups of people. However, the kind of community that we see at Soul Cafe is a community that brings us together in healthy interdependence and robust respect for every person who lives in Ledbetter and the surrounding area. Our purpose is to build the kind of community that is characterized by care, sharing, support, kindness, connectedness, and love.

That kind of community, however, does not come easily. It is hard work. Hard because the quality of relationships described by these characteristics requires much more than just occupying a house in a geographic area. For instance, REAL community is built only where there is a commitment to inclusiveness. And that is not a value taught in the culture of our world today. As a culture we may be as divided as we have ever been. To build true community requires an openness to other persons who may be very different than you. True community transcends skin color, language, artificial social and economic lines.

The word "transcend" doesn't mean to ignore or abolish. It doesn't mean to pretend there are no differences and to keep silent. The word transcend means to "climb over" or "climb above". To transcend our differences so that we include all people, so that we move toward a unity means that we have to live with a different and higher reality that the distinctions made by our culture. Our culture may say you are democrat or republican, rich or poor, white or person of color. However, a higher order of reality was lived out by Jesus. In his reality all people were created in the image of God. All people have divine value. All people are dearly loved by God. To transcend the lowly values of a culture-gone-sour we must step into the world of Jesus and live as though we value people the same way he did.

As much as anything we can do to create community, it is this kind of hard work respect that will continue to move Ledbetter in the direction it has been headed for some time. What would our community look like if we treated every person we see each day the way Jesus might have treated them if he were here right now? The mystery is that he IS here right now. He is here in you.

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