Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Living the Christian Life

Shane Claiborne's, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical was our assigned reading for class this week, as well as a video made by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (http://sustainabletraditions.com/2010/05/jonathan-wilson-hartgrove-christian-community/).

Both address living in intentional Christian communities, as Christ's earliest followers did, sharing what they had, making decisions together, and living by Covenant rather than contract.

As Claiborne's title suggests, this is indeed a radical notion. In the History of Christianity course that I took this past June, I read about the communal life of the men and women who gathered very few of their belongings to follow Jesus and others for what seemed like a traveling Woodstock Festival, complete with singing, dancing, tons of free love, and, while they might not have been smoking pot, they were definitely high on life! "What fun!" I thought. A time of so much joy, freedom, possibility.

Fast forward though to 2011, and Claiborne's community of intentional living and I'm thinking, "Hmmm, not really so much for me." I am pretty content in my little home with my husband and our dog and I really love laying on my couch watching t.v. at the end of a long day. I don't really like being around people all the time, and I don't know about sharing everything????

Claiborne says, "The world cannot afford the American dream." This reminds me a recent conversation I had with a coworker who was upset that her credit union had just adopted the motto, "Life without limits." She was blown away that a credit union, which she chose for it's commitment to the community and not-for-profit cooperative structure would perpetuate the consumeristic, wasteful, unattainable lifestyle that so many of us in the United States have accepted as normal.

To live as an intentional Christian is to live a life of limits. It is to make every decision with careful thought and care for our neighbors and our fragile island earth. This is indeed a radical way of life, and one that I wish was easier for me to imagine myself in.

How do we, who will never probably join a living co-op or live in an intentional Christian community live a similar lifestyle? How do we support one another and hold each other accountable? Something to ponder indeed.

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