intentional community

Celebrate Resurrection by Selling All Your Possessions

Photo via art4all / Shutterstock.com

Photo via art4all / Shutterstock.com

Inequality is a relentless blight. The hopelessness too often engendered when a lack of resources aligns with insufficient educational access, the easy prejudice of one's neighbors, and the ubiquity of oppression is dehumanizing and crushing.

In recent days, much of our political discourse has focused — at least in words — on economic inequality. From the left and right alike, laments arise about the shrinking of the middle class and the widening and yawning gap growing between those who are thriving in a rebounding economy and those left behind by a rising Dow.

The next presidential campaign will likely be dominated by questions of economic justice and the American promise that hard work and perseverance can yield a better life. Is this dream a myth or reality? How we answer this question will say much about our hope in the future, our trust in one another, our faith in a God who promises life abundant, though an abundance that comes in a form we might not expect.

Sojourners Internship: 'What's It Like to Live in Community?'

Photo via Katie Chatelain-Samsen / Sojourners

2014-2015 Interns. Photo via Katie Chatelain-Samsen / Sojourners

Are you looking for a chance to explore your vocational calling and expand your ideas of spirituality, justice, and community, all while serving the mission of Sojourners? Apply for our 2015-2016 internship program!

This yearlong fellowship combines full-time jobs and vocational mentorship in our nonprofit office with an opportunity to live in intentional Christian community. The program is open to anyone 21 years or older who is single or married without dependents.

Go behind on the scenes on what it's like to live in community in this video, part of a series on life as a Sojourners intern. Sharing a house in Washington D.C., interns worship, share meals, manage a common budget, pray together, and hold weekly educational seminars. 

Remembering How to Pray

Praying hands, udra11 / Shutterstock.com

Praying hands, udra11 / Shutterstock.com

Every now and again I have to stop and take stock of my prayer life. And when I do that, sometimes I have to share what it's like to realize that how I pray has somehow managed to change without my conscious intention to do so. This is one of those times. 

My prayer life has slipped away from me again in that I seldom if ever sit down with The Hours or my breviary and pray. It just doesn't happen. I arise in the morning and work begins. I move about my day from task to task, moment to moment, until the day is done. Idle time comes upon occasion, but not with any regularity. And Lord knows this summer's travel schedule has kept me hopping. Such a schedule keeps my brain busy as well. So, right. Explicit time for prayer is in great shortage.

'Unexpected Gifts' of Community

'Unexpected Gifts' by Chris Heuertz

'Unexpected Gifts' by Chris Heuertz

I’ve been asked several times in the last year or so, “How is it living in community?” Well, you see, that’s not a question to take lightly. Describing living in community takes more than just a quick response to a seemingly simple question. It’s wonderful. It’s difficult. It has its ups and downs. It’s life-giving and sometimes it feels like it takes the life out of you. How are you supposed to relay all that in a simple answer?

“Stepping into community is far riskier than expected. It’s far worse than you expect it to be. But in the end, it’s far better than you could ever imagine.”

With that line, along with the rest of his new book, Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community, author Christopher Heuertz offers a thorough reflection on how it is to live in community. Granted, he takes the space of 200 pages. But this book does give some ample reflection to those ups and downs, the failures and the joys — the, indeed, unexpected gifts — of community. With an honest and open tone, Unexpected Gifts reads like a story-filled guide to relationships, to living in community, living as Church, as Christ would have us do.

Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future

Photo: Woman praying, © John Wollwerth  / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Woman praying, © John Wollwerth / Shutterstock.com

I’ll preface this piece my saying I know I am making some broad generalizations based on gender, and that there are always exceptions to every trend. But despite that, I do think there are some cultural trends that can offer us some useful insight.

Anyone who has been paying attention has noticed that, of those left within the walls of most churches, the majority still hanging in there are women. Some, like the advocates of so-called Masculine Christianity, see this as a crisis. The Christian faith and its symbols are becoming softened, feminized, compromised into being something other than what they were meant to be.

Granted, when you take a faith whose principal authors historically have been men and then place that same faith in the hands of women, some things will inevitably change. Personally, I welcome the exploration of other, feminine expressions of the divine and values such as embodied spirituality that many female Christian leaders value. But aside from these assets, I think that women bring something far more critical to institutional religion.

Without them, it may cease to exist.

Making Love Practical

Image courtesy of the author (pictured in the top right photo in the collage.)

Image courtesy of the author (who is pictured in the top right photo in the collage.)

In the Australian city where I live, there is a housing crisis.

Only 2 percent of rental properties are vacant. The mining boom has seen a huge increase in the number of renters and this additional competition has left parties outbidding each other to lease the few rental properties on the market.

In this environment, immigrants, generally, and refugees in particular, struggle to access affordable accommodation, let alone accommodation close to employment opportunities or community services.

In the community I helped found and where I have spent the last eight years — going through the highs and lows of radical hospitality, direct action, gardening, praying, and cups of tea — we feel called to leave.

Ten Ways The Social Justice Movement Changed How I Look at Disney Movies

Sleeping Beauty's castle, Eurodisney, Terry Why / Getty Images

Sleeping Beauty's castle, Eurodisney, Terry Why / Getty Images

 

I’m a child of the 90s—the true height of Disney mania. Little MermaidAladdinLion King.

But have you ever gone back and watched a childhood movie as an adult? And what about after tapping into social justice? Well, you missed a lot the first time around. Your little toddler brain had no idea that things could be so complex. So—the ten ways the social justice movement changed how I look at Disney movies: 

(In no particular order of severity or hilarity.)  

10. Learn the Humanity of the Poor — Let’s learn from Aladdin and not be the snooty prince with the weirdo facial hair pattern (who, as we learn later wears the classic red heart boxers). When we push the poor aside, we deny their God-given humanity.

Aladdin, that handsome be-vested “street urchin,” sang it best.

Wanderlust: A Sojourn to Elysium

(Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)

Producer Judd Apatow, Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd arrive at the L.A. Wanderlust premiere. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)

If there were a movie about your life, what would it look like? Which celebrity would play you?

Ah, the timeless ice breaker question.

Over the weekend, I made plans to see Friends with Kids with a few coworkers. I thought I was heading to see a comedic depiction of my current life stage as the young adult who is left in the dust of the friends-getting-married-and-having-kids frenzy.

If this confession prompts an eye roll from you on account of my young adult angst, let me add one bit of vindication: the movie was sold out.

Our next option was to see Wanderlust, and something interesting happened: in my search for one snapshot of my current context, I found a wholly different but still parallel other. Bring on the ice breaker questions — I have found the film about my year in intentional community.

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