Are You Called to Live in an Intentional Christian Community?

There is a serious crisis that has been slow and ongoing in our society. Perhaps it is so slow because it can be so hard to realize. How do you really know if you are not being supported by a great community around you? So often, we realize that we are isolated after far too long of trying to make it by ourselves. And besides, often the problems are so much bigger than us. We have moved far away from support systems because of jobs. We have been forced to move because of increased rent or property values. We can no longer live in our homes by ourselves anymore. And so we cry out to the world- where are my people!? Why am I so alone?!

Changing Our Lives by Changing our Housing

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Many have begun confronting this problem in new ways in the last fifty years. Perhaps I shouldn't say "new ways" because really these ways are just new thinking about old ways of making community. Take a look at "cohousing." What strikes you as new and different? What is genuinely "old fashioned?"

Now maybe you are really scared because what it feels like is the dreaded "c" word. You know what I mean: commune. Commune has become a code word for something resembling a cult. A group of hippies or those who are disaffected by society. Or maybe if you have a positive view of communes, this is what comes to mind:

Maybe something about a commune is attractive to you- there is something so beautifully idealistic about relying on each other. Or about sharing duties that allow some to work in ways that may not be as financially sustainable on their own but help the good of the whole. If you are like me, the scary part is giving up all your money through a common purse. Sure, the group gets to have a little savings account for after life in the community, but giving up so much control is scary!

Christian Community in the East End

"How very good and pleasant it is
    when kindred live together in unity!"
-Psalm 133:1

I am currently working towards creating a Christian community on the East End of Houston. Is it cohousing? Well kinda. Is it a commune? well kinda, depending on what you mean. An intentional Christian community is like cohousing in that it is built on the idea that we all need each other. That we should be eating together regularly and sharing life together. A commune is built on the idea that we have a shared mindset. We agree a covenant and shared rhythm of life. What if we could combine the sense of connectedness without losing our own identity and independence?  

My understanding of intentional Christian community is based on three concepts: prayer, hospitality, and justice. Elaine Heath beautifully explains these three ideas. In the East End, prayer is foundational to what we do. We eat abundantly with each other and we celebrate communion. Through hospitality we welcome our neighbors and we also go out and throw parties with our neighbors. In bringing about a more just neighborhood, we serve as community connectors and help magnify the good justice work that is being done already in the neighborhood. 

So. Is your heart pitter patting? Is this something you have been dreaming about for some time or something you have been waiting for without even realizing it? Are you super confused and want to know what my problem is? Let's chat! I'd love to get coffee. Email me at prichards-kuan@stpaulshouston.org. Carrier pigeon also works. Smoke signals are a little less reliable for me unfortunately. 

Want to know more? Keep watching some more videos on intentional community and cohousing.