As Beth and I, along with our friends prepare for life in community, I think its important to be continually challenged by the voices of those who have been doing this for a long time.
I (mark) have been reading Becoming the Answer To Our Prayers written by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. I particularly enjoyed these thoughts:
"One of the communities we have bumped into is a bunch of middle-aged parents and their kids living in the suburbs who had decided to do a little experiment in community. They started sharing garden tools and lawn mowers, doing laundry together and sharing machines. They found it was more fun to do their laundry together and spend time together while they waited. Before long, they had a community garden and had set up a way to do cooperative childcare. A few of them even moved in together. If felt so natural. Eventually, they made the front page of the newspaper, and one of the folks who had started it said, 'Isn't that weird? What we are doing is front page news. It just seemed to make sense.' If God's kingdom looks radical, it is only an indictment on the sort of Christianity we have settled for. Sharing our food with the hungry, opening our homes to the homeless, reconciling with our enemies--these are what Christianity has always been" (52).I remember the excitement and intrigue I felt the first time I heard about these intentional communities. I could not believe that there were Christians so committed to living such a radical lifestyle!
Thinking about that excitement now, its hard to believe that I was just like that newspaper editor, intrigued enough to make it front page news. Now it troubles me that it still is. When we made the decision to commit to this project in Denver it seemed like the most natural and obvious decision. We had an opportunity, a ticket, to get out of this "sort of Christianity" that has only left us confused and unmotivated, the sad thing is, why did we need such a special opportunity to return to a life with Christ that was intended all along?
"our eyes have caught a glimpse of the Promised Land, and it is so dazzling that we can no longer settle for what the empire has to offer" (46).