Friday, May 22, 2009

Living in Community

Writing is something that helps me process experience, so even though I still have a long to do list in spite of my semester ending, I have taken some time for myself to reflect.

I live in an intentional community. If you want to know what that means, you should ask this guy, because he is much better at explaining definitions and such. I can just share with you my reflections on the experience.

We live with ten people on one property that we affectionately like to call the Hawthorn House. The HH community extends beyond the property though, with good friends a block away and others who come for Sunday night gatherings.

Matt and I chose to move here in June 2007 as kind of a life experiment. We had read this book and were talking a lot about community and simplicity and how as Christians, maybe we should strive to live a little differently. And then an opportunity arose, so we took it.

I have come to the conclusion that community is like family. Sometimes you annoy each other, but ultimately you deeply love one another, and are there for each other in times of need. You help each other try to live into the people you feel called to be. You are honest with one another, and it is not always easy, and it is not always fun, but it is real, and I like that.

One hard thing about living in community is that people really know you, but is is also very nice to have people actually know the real you. Unfortunately, it means that all of your flaws are magnified. You see how selfish you are, how anti-social you sometimes feel, how annoyable you can be, but you also realize that people will still love you despite the magnification of your flaws, and I like that.

And despite feeling very selfish and ugly at times, you are consistently made aware by the place you have chosen to live that you value living outside of the box, you value simplicity and intentionality and close proximity to others. And that is nice to be reminded of.

As my two year anniversary of living in community approaches, I can honestly say that this decision ranks up there on my list of big decisions I am glad I was brave enough to make in life. And I look forward to more growth that will come out of this choice in the future.

P.S. As I write this, I realize that I don't often write about "faith" on my blog, although I mention it here in this post. Maybe one day I will write about that here, about what it means to me to call myself "Christian." But maybe I won't, because like I said, I am not really good at defining things, I can just reflect upon my experience.


  1. i love this post!It sounds like such an amazing community!You are still inspiring and such a great leader even from a distance and I truly love that!

  2. I am honored to live in community with you. You are a true guide to us by deed over words. You define authentic.

  3. thank you for this. i have been mulling over not only what an intentional community looks like, but what it actually means. That is, do you, as a collective, have to define it, point it out, name it, and then define it again? because in my experience, much of what comes with the philosophy behind word, is it's being, its bringing forth, or birth if you will. once this happens, the definition is transformed from words into, as jason mentions, deeds.

    but without this definition, can one really declare their membership in an intentional community...these are the things i ponder.

    as always, thanks for being brook E.

  4. It's weird how in just living in the same space and sharing food and conversation on a consistent basis, I feel I've become closer to this group of people than others whom I've known much much longer, and am thankful for all of these friendships. Just to know that other people can see your imperfections and still love you allows you to feel more comfortable around them at all times, without putting on any masks.

  5. hi friend! sorry i never wrote you back... I havent been on here in so long,
    but the book is called
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being"
    by Milan Kundera

    hands down my favorite book.

    you should maybe check it out. =)

  6. great post about living in intentional community, Brooke. It makes me want to find that for myself again after two & a half years away from my old community.