Living In Community

Sometimes your spirit is spoken to in such an unexpected way that it calls to remembrance a need for relationship you had almost forgotten about.

Tonight, for the first time in over 9 months, I attended a church service of sorts. The scary part for me was that I actually enjoyed the setting, the feel and the people (the highlight of the evening was when the "worship team" played a Pete Yorn song!). This is not a normal occurrence for me. My past history with church has always come off as forced, awkward and very out of place. My friend Parker told me about this church that was trying to live missionally (i think that means a church that is more outward focused than inward) within the community that surrounded them. They had bought an old church, renamed it The Abbey, held candlelit services and allowed two or three guys to live on premises to take care of the church and follow a semi monastic life (daily prayers, weekly meal together, etc.).

The thing that first peaked my interest was the fact that the guys who live in The Abbey don’t have to pay rent. Because of my current living situation this sounds like a good deal (I have to move out on the 1st of September). Obviously they want you to do work around the building in exchange for your free room and board but its something like 9 hours a week, not a big deal.

Now I have to tell you that when I moved up here from Seattle last June I had pretty high hopes for living in a solid, Christ focused community of believers. Unfortunately my time with YWAM did not become what I had hoped it would. My expectations of community were not shared by most of the staff. Not to say that they were unrealistic expectations, I just came to the wrong group of folks with the expectations I had.

So now I have an opportunity to not only have a good living situation but also be involved in a community of people that are committed to living in community. I will be sitting down to speak with the pastor (he goes by the title of Father Travis) sometime this week and I hope to share my expectations and see what his are for this community. This could be an amazing group of people to live and work with and I’m quite excited at the prospect of it.

I also wanted to share something a guy named Phil told me tonight. Phil lived at this monastery in Oregon for a month and while there was intrigued by the hermit that lived on the hill. The hermit had lived on the hill alone for over 20 years. The monks told Phil that they all aspired to attain this life of devotion and solitude but that you couldn’t even be considered to live that way until you had devoted at least 20 years of service to the monastic community.

Phil then went on to explain how when he had arrived back in Seattle he saw how living in an urban setting could be very much like living the way the hermit lived but without the healthy sense of self derived from a lifetime devoted to a community. Phil told me of the importance of community and how we become very unhealthy and lonely without it.

As I walked to the bus stop I thought back on all of the times that I have tried to live life outside of a community with the hope that things will be better on my own. It’s a lot easier to deal with 1 than with 10. Understandably community will take many forms as your life progresses (marriage, family, friends) but the fundamental part that I often struggle with is the fact that we are made to be in community. We are made to be encouraged and brought into question by those that care for us and know us.

The myth of the self made man (woman) who needs no one is just that…a myth.


Anonymous josh said...

very cool. that's karen ward's community. i've heard nothing but great things about it. she's got a podcast up on emergentvillage that you might like.


9:20 AM  
Blogger Corey said...


Yeah, Karen was one of the first people i met last night. I recognized her from her Submergence blog.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

yeah, from everything i've heard about her. she is the real deal and seems like the most genuine person there is. keep me posted. if you become a monk or friar, that is definitely podcast material. :)

9:56 PM  

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