Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Josiah Community

One of the things I've been doing lately that isn't school is working with a group of folks to develop an intentional community condo development. I was brought into the whole thing by my roommate in Africa, Arloa Sutter. Basically, we're converting a warehouse in North Lawndale to about 45 condos that people will own individually. However, the condos will be design to encourage interaction with neighbors: kitchen windows facing into hallways, "front porches," lots of common areas and a community cooking and dining area where folks will rotate cooking for anyone that doesn't want to eat mac and cheese in front of the TV every night. I like the combination of privacy and community since I can always retreat to my condo but have the freedom to knock on people's doors if I need them.

All decisions of the community will be made by consensus. When I apply what I've been learning in my poli-sci classes, this means that the status quo regarding community life will be hard to overturn once we get going. I see this as a good thing since I'm one of about 8-15 people that are the core group of ground-floor decision-makers. We'd love to see this number get bigger, though. Our next meeting is April 30.

One of my major concerns in these discussions is that we emphasize relationships rather than rules. While I'm happy to sit down over coffee with a neighbor to discuss my lifestyle choices, I'm not at all interested in being held "accountable" by my neighbors for them. So, if the idea of being surrounded by other Christians and their tendency to judge gives you the willies, please be assured that I have those same willies (or heebie-jeebies, whatever you want to call them) and I'm working to make sure that doesn't happen in our earliest conversations.

Our community will be made up of whoever shows up and the culture will reflect those folks. How cool would it be to have a building full of emerging folks?

All sorts of information is available at the blog.

This will be a Christian community, however, we haven't set in concrete how that is defined. Since I'm involved, I'm hoping to sway the group toward an inclusive, emerging definition of Christian. More folks like me involved with this project early on will make this more likely. (hint, hint)

The other major element of this project is that a major portion of the community space will be dedicated to a non-profit that facilitates theological study, often in the form of folks taking sabbaticals. There will be a hostel available in the building for these folks that will spend half their day working in the community, and half of their days studying.

Optimistically, condos will be ready for moving in in a little over a year. I see this as an experiment in living within the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth by living in community.

Want to do something a little radical and join me?


Christy said...

Wow, this is ambitious. I skimmed a bit of the community blog. I look forward to hearing about the progress.

Anonymous said...

Community. Some good ideas. Don't want to be 'accountable' to your community, just want to tell them about your 'lifestyle'. hmmmm. I assume you are accountable to somebody? somewhere?