Monday, December 07, 2009

Is this what was happening in Acts 2 and 4?

Watch this five minute video on a planned Christian community in Bremerton, Washington called the Bartimaeus Cohousing Community.

Some of the units are for sale for the as little as $230,000 with home owners association dues ranging from $135 to $231 per month. The houses are really nice, all the creature comforts. So it is kind of an upper middle-class Christian community. This is not a criticism. I think that what these brothers and sisters are doing is a far more Biblical vision than the virtual complete separation we practice as Christians currently. I am curious what your thoughts are. What do you think of this? Does this mesh with Acts 2: 44-47 and Acts 4: 32-35?

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Unknown said...

This comment is going to be a bit jumbled, because I have a million thoughts on this tumbling around in my head, LOL!

I think they have it pretty close.
But, for me at least, it is missing something......the agrarian side of life.
Sure a community garden is nice, but I tend to think that the model that Michael Bunker promotes is a little closer to what intentional community needs to be.
Acreage to have the family cow, chickens and large garden, etc.
And each family fulfilling a role, such as a mechanic, a tailor, etc.

The Hutterite and the Hippie model go to far in applying all things in common.

I look at the way the Amish live, and see a better application of all things in common.

Oh yes.....making it a community that is only for upper income levels.....smacks of elitism.
Possibly that bothers me most, because I am not of that class....

Unknown said...

hhmmm, ok, I did a little more digging around on their site.
I find it intereting, that most of the members are part of different churches, likely have differing theological ideas, and, most do not practice something I believe to be a very needed thing in the Christian home. Mothers staying at home.
Granted, many mothers need to work outside the home, but if they are doing so, just to be able to support such an expensive way of life....

Arthur Sido said...

I personally like the agrarian lifestyle but I think you can also have an intentional, simple communal life in an urban setting. There are some Christians in Detroit doing just that (my friend James Lee knows them)

My issue with this community is that it seemed to be a lot of people living together but trying to maintain the "American" lifestyle at the same time. I am going to check out that Michael Bunker fella and see what he has to say. The key is to have community without controls, a lot of groups that live in community seem to add a lot of other "stuff" like specific dress codes to control the people and that is not what is meant by community either in my opinion.

Unknown said...

Certainly agree that one does not need to live fully agrarian, even though, I desire that for us.
And yes, dictating style of dress is out of line :o)

Michael's not quite finished book is here....
( you will have to sift back to find that latest chapter. His blog does not allow for clicking on individual posts)

It is very heavy reading at times, and can be construed as very legalistic, and he does promote complete separation from the world, but I have learned so much from it/him.
He lays out a way of life that is similiar to living in an old fashioned village.
Everyone knows each other, and everyone has a role to play in keeping that village in order.

Anonymous said...

I think the danger is in separating ourselves from the behavior of the world, but not the pattern. What I mean, is that one can live in the sticks with no TV or other secular influences, but still be full of pride, vanity, hatred, etc. I think it is so easy to get our behavior in line, and yet walk around with uncircumcised hearts.

We are called to be imitators of Christ. He did not indulge in sin, he did not condone it, he was not a party to it, and he was not entertained by it. But he spent his time in the homes of sinners. He could have easily turned them away and formed a little commune with the Pharisees, so as not to be tainted by sin. But instead, he had compassion on those whose souls were sick, and he brought the good news to them. This video did not seem like good news to me. If I were an unbeliever, I think I would here, "We want nothing to do with you, you filthy sinner. Not until you become like us. And we're not going to help you do that, because we don't want you to taint us. So sorry, but you're on your own."

I can't help but think of the story of the good Samaritan. The priest and the Levite walked past the beaten man, because they did not want to be made unclean by him. But it was the Samaritan who had compassion on him.

I honestly don't have a lot of specific ideas to offer in the way of a solution, but I do believe it is possible for Christians to live in real, biblical community with each other, while still living out the great commission, which calls us to go INTO all nations, not to hide ourselves away from them.

I'd be interested to know how this community handles passages dealing with evangelism and helping the poor and the widows and the orphans. I do think it's wonderful that they provide a home for one homeless person a year. But I think those of us who have been blessed financially have a responsibility to use that money for God's purposes--and I do have a hard time believing that living in a cushy suburban townhouse fits into that.

We were not called to a comfortable life.

Arthur Sido said...

April, you are previewing my next couple of posts. I am interested in hearing what your thoughts are when I post them.