Community That Transforms (Extended Interview)
In our hyper-individualized culture, it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to live with a hodge-podge of people who share virtually everything: a roof, food, income, chores, prayers, frustrations, and friendships. And yet the increased popularity of intentional community and group living among progressive Christian groups (such as the new monastics) proves that people still long to connect with others, despite evidence to the contrary.
For Sojourners, the principles of intentional community have been a part of the organization since it began in early-’70s as group of justice-minded Christians living together in Washington, D.C. In this interview, editorial assistant Amy Barger sits down with Bob Sabath, a founding member of the Sojourners community, and Sondra Shepley, a twenty-something who helped start a community in 2007, to learn the purpose, pain, and pleasures of community life.
Amy: Why did you want to live in community?
Sondra: I didn’t actually want to live in community. I had done an inner-city experience in [the D.C. neighborhood of] Anacostia, and after that I felt like I would like to move back to that area at some point. When I was starting to sense it was time to move, a friend of mine told me that a community of people was going to be living in Anacostia. I jumped on the opportunity more out of necessity as opposed to coming into it with an ideological framework.