Community Dudes and Early Risers

Jeff Daniels, Lebowski, The Big Lebowski, Dude, Community, Dudes

Photo by vidmon (Creative Commons)

Community is a tough word to define, depending on context. The “community center” means the place designed for a geographic area. The “community of believers” generally speaks to geography in part, but also a similarity of beliefs. And then there is Community, the sitcom filled with pop culture references and Chevy Chase.

But what does it mean to have community? How does it help when our world is falling apart, or our insecurities rise up and threaten to overtake us?

The answers look a little different for everyone, but there are some commonalities – safety, common interests, vulnerability, and a willingness to give and receive support.

I have basically stumbled into a community that is a lifeline for me. We are literally just a bunch of guys who write. One of us live in Tennessee, while another lives in the UK and still another works with students in Sarajevo.

We are CPAs, journalists, government employees, and self-employed businessmen. We write about faith. We are fiction writers. We encourage others to chase their dreams.

Honestly, it might be tough to find a more difficult mix of passions and energies and focus if you tried. Yet we have community.

Talking with these dudes is one of my three favorite places on the Internet.

I won’t be judged. I will be encouraged. If I am being weak, I will be called on the carpet. I will be loved. I will be pushed to be the best writer I can be, while not judged for still being in process toward that person. More importantly, I will be pushed to be the best dude I can be. This is priceless for me, and rare in my life. I hope you have a community like this.

I mentioned three favorite places. Let me tell you a little about my other favorite places.

If you have a chronic illness of any type and don’t have a community, I invite you to consider looking into the small Facebook community called Ill But Dreaming. It exists to support those of us with chronic illness. I know there are so many of us, and we need a place to talk.

To inspire each other. To give each other courage to dream. To hope. To live.

Speaking aloud our fears can shine light into places of darkness that don’t need to be. Here, hopefully, you can be yourself WITH your diseases, rather than having to put on a brave face and smile for the world around you when all you need is for someone to give you a hug.

And the third is equally unique. I have another group that is full of safety and creativity and honesty for me. We started as a group of writers trying to encourage one another to get up at 5 am and hustle hustle hustle. Over time, we became so much more. Now we share ideas, and fears, and ask each others’ opinions on blog post titles and newsletter designs and we wonder together what could be if we jumped 150% into pursuing our dreams. All from agreeing together (and really mostly failing) to support one another in getting up way too early.

The lesson I learned from this group is that you  never know where you will find community, but it is always a wonderful blessing.


  1. Very cool!

  2. Great post, Chris. And I totally agree about how important community is. I’m so glad God led all of our paths to cross. So glad.

  3. Dear Chris
    I am encouraged by your writing and zest for life even with all the obstacles life has thrown on along your way. I think I will make use of your invitation to visit the Facebook Page for the chronically ill writers.
    Blessings XX

    • Mia, you are more than welcome. Our group is a pretty great place, I’m not going to lie. We are still learning how to encourage one another, but the safety is nearly unmatched.

  4. katina vaselopulos says:

    So well said, Chris! What a blessing to be in a great community!

  5. troy mc laughlin says:

    Love this as you’ve stated what a wonderful gift of community. Who would have thought that an online class Tribe Writers would have opened a door to a new world of friends and community that I would have never known if I wouldn’t have taken the step. Thanks Chris for all you’ve done for me this year it’s been a true serendipity. #Dudewriters4ever

  6. Christa Sterken says:

    This post is awesome, what a true testament to the gift of relationship. I am happy you have your community of dudes (among others). Celebrating this with you…

    • It’s pretty awesome to think about the friendships that have developed. By the way, the Dudes (always capitalize Dudes…always) was birthed out of TribeWriters too. Pretty neat to see the unexpected fruit of this common experience.

  7. I saw what you did there. You are awesome. That is all.

    • Hey, we agree 🙂

      Truthfully, the WUST group has turned into something pretty awesome. And awesomely unexpected. It’s such a blessing for me, because I get to interact with and support and be supported by people like you.

      • Christa Sterken says:

        I second that. Even though I still will never get up early unless…well, let’s just say I’d rather stay up late for my early rising friends. It’s worth it

        • With my new job, I have to get up earlier. My child care provider commented on how grumpy I am. Guess that proves early to rise does NOT make Chris a happy camper. Period. 🙂

  8. Anazing!

  9. Chris, this brought tears to my eyes man. You are such a good man, friend, and dude! It’s true that “community” is often times more of a buzzword used to entangle and excite but one thing for sure is you’ve taught me this year more of what it truly does look like. And for that I’m grateful!

  10. Community is very vital, yet I struggle with fully engaging in communities. And social media exhausts me. I can’t keep up with all of my friends blogs. I’m better one-on-one.

    • I am still learning how to engage in community, and not letting my introvert take over. I just don’t keep up with all my friends’ blogs. Otherwise my life would consist of reading, working, and writing. That’s no life at all. I do my best to build in time with one or a couple friends, because that’s easiest for me too


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