Communal Living

08Dec08

As the time to choose a residence for next year draws nearer, my roommates and I are toying with the idea of communal living. That is, more people sharing less space. Actually, that hardly touches on what I think communal living is, but I think it’s a good start.

I’ve been discussing this notion with some of my more spiritually active friends (I think that’s probably a horribly arrogant/judgmental thing to say, but I can’t think of a better way to describe them right now. Forgive me.) and they’ve helped me start to build an idea of what real community should look like.

1. Intentional. Community should be intentional. I think this is the defining difference between living with people  and occupying the same residence. Intentional community, in my mind, is about relationships, not residence. Much like the Church is a body of believers and not a building.

2. Sharing. I think as much as possible should be shared amongst the community with less regard for what is necessarily fair. In Blue Like Jazz, author Donald Miller writes that some people think it is the goal of Satan to get people to say cusswords. I think that more than cusswords, it’s to make people focus on what is fair instead of generosity. I think he wants us to come up with some crazy idea about what we “deserve” and demand that at the expense of what other people “deserve”. I think he’s too smart to give a damn about cusswords. Anyways, as far as sharing goes, I think work should be shared, food should be shared (as in the cost of food is split and we should break bread together if possible), and I think life should be shared. We should rely on each other. See Acts 5-ish for more details (“They came to realize that everything they had was not theirs so they shared everything they had.” The Church in Acts is a decent example of how I feel community should be).

3. Relationships. I already touched on this, but I think relationships are tremendous. Relationships are tremendous in the Bible and in my life. Supporting one another; learning to view other people as people and not as commodities, only as good as they can make us look to others; Loving one another; fighting with one another (conflict is an important element in any relationship); learning to be brutally honest with one another (social conventions like politeness and politics are stupid, IMO); etc.

4. Service. This ties into the relationships thing (actually, it all ties in with everything else pretty well–this is what makes me think it’s Truth). I think it’s important that we serve eachother as opposed to focusing on what’s fair. More than serving the other members of the house, I think it’s important to reach out to the surrounding community. I don’t think it does any good to have an community if you can’t spread the vision and improve the world. Isolation is another big thing on Satan’s to-do list, IMO. This one will be tricky, I think.

I’ll add more as I think of them. Right now I must go to work. Au revoir mes amis.

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One Response to “Communal Living”


  1. 1 Communal Living Remixed « ThinPancakes

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