WHAT WOULD IT look like to extend radical hospitality to the “other,” spend less money in order to give more away, reclaim the Sabbath by practicing intentional rest, embrace simplicity by downsizing material possessions, and seek the renewal of ailing cities and neighborhoods by living in them rather than fleeing them—all while holding jobs and raising a flock of kids?
In The Year of Small Things, Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger set out to discover the answer. Inspired by the New Monasticism, a movement that integrates ancient Christian values into modern life, the two friends and their families embark on a year of small but intentional steps of faith and action, devoting each month to a different theme, whether prayer, sustainability, or serving the needs of the under-resourced city in which they live and worship.
Together in community, we have the opportunity to reveal our whole selves to one another: our pains, our joys, our doubts, our hopes, our failings, and our gifts. Being like Christ is to love people in their fullness — recognizing their strengths and not stopping there, recognizing their weaknesses and not stopping there. Because of our love for one another, we see each other. We do not dwell on our shortcomings, and we do not pretend their nonexistence. We are not wholly bad or wholly good. We are a beautiful, human group of somewhere-in-betweens who desperately want to live out Jesus’ commandment to love one another.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m a child of the 90s—the true height of Disney mania. Little Mermaid. Aladdin. Lion 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:
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.
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.