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Living in Community: Maybe A Few More Years

In the next few months I’m going to be moving back to Sarnia, my hometown, for good. I’ve been looking forward to moving back to Sarnia for quite sometime now and its finally happening along with theStory church plant. Instead of moving back with my parents like any good poor university student would do I have decided to move into my own place with my friend Ron. There is a number of reasons I want to do this. First, I want to be able to enact what our community longs to be. One of those things is having a value of hospitality, opening the doors of our homes to each other and the community around us. It is difficult to do this when you don’t really own the home.

Yesterday on our search for a place to rent, we came across a set of four townhouses that were all for sale as one purchase. It was only $165, 000 for all four. Ron and I spent the rest of the day having friends who have been in the landlord business for a long time check out the place and confirm that it was a good deal and dreaming up ideas of what we would do with this place if we owned it. I had looked at these townhouses before they went for sale, so it was almost an answer to prayer I thought that they would randomly go up for sale a week later. We could live in one of them and rent out the other three and the life that everyone wants us to live would start.

After a lot of prayer and way too many long conversations, Ron and I decided that this probably wouldn’t be the best choice for us to do. Depending on tenants in a low-income area is pretty risky and with us both already possessing student loans, we thought we’d be best to take it easy for a while.

Yesterday however confirmed a dream that has been stirring in my heart for a while now. It is the dream of living as a community. I just imagined owning that townhouse complex in about ten years and bringing the rent down to next to nothing and opening the doors of the other three townhouses to friends and people that are part of our community and doing life together. I imagined us eating and cooking together, spending time together instead of running to the comfort of our TV’s. I imagined a lot of things to be honest and those townhouses worked perfect into those dreams. It was sort of a downer to not go after the purchase of it.

I went to Nidus Festival this weekend and saw Shane Claiborne speak and he has been living in a commune for quite a while. His stories inspired me, and stories of communities all over the world inspire me.

The more I read about living in community, the more I dream about it the more I can’t wait to do it. Living with my closest friends in Toronto in Apartment 109 was the greatest living experience of my life, and to repeat that would be the only other way that I can imagine living. Escaping to a big house where my wife and I live alone and cut our grass alone and eat every meal alone and clean house alone and watch tv alone is not my idea of a life. Living in a cheap house, with my greatest friends close by is my idea of living. Have you ever thought about trying something like this? What stopped you? What scares you about it? What do you like about it?

5 Comments

  • Nathan: I like your dream! It reminds me of when I lived with 4 other people, when in university (Ottawa U), in a big house. We shared meals together, laughed together, got to know each other, encouraged one another. I was there for two years. We called it a co-op. When the house was sold by the owner, we all dispersed. But I have kept up a genuine friendship with one of those house-mates, over the last 19 years. I would love to see more young people choose to live together, experiencing true community, thereby able to “disciple” one another, naturally, without having to establish “a formal program of discipleship” (although there is nothing wrong with that, per se).

    Michel (alumuns of Epiphaneia)

  • Ever hear of the Huttterites?

    http://www.hutterites.org

  • Hey Nathan,

    This sounds very intriguing! I have lived in similar communities (with roomates while in school) and actually lived on a ship for five months, with Mercy Ships…and that was basically a floating Christian commune (in the good sense).
    I have to say though, that a ‘Christian commune’ scares me. I’m not sure why, it might just be the 70’s creeping into my subconscious, but it freaks me out. All I picture is a megalomaniac male leader taking advantage of his power over his minions for bad ends. Well, I suppose that is more my idea of a cult, but in my naivete, I guess I see a bit of a fine line between a commune and a cult.

    I live alone with my wife, and we often eat alone, hang out together alone (but often also with friends when we want to), and I absolutely, 100% LOVE it! Maybe it just takes a certain personality set to get into the commune thing, or perhaps it is a ‘phase of life’ sort of thing. I don’t know. Good post though.

    Too bad about those townhomes, it sounds like a pretty good deal….i hate the GTA, we’ll never be able to buy….ugh.

  • Hahaha – if it wasnt for this article we wouldnt have got our new place!
    Wooo Hooo!

    Also, Nathan is a friggin genious!

    http://www.storyboardsolutions.com/sunsetgolf
    Peace.

  • Nothing scares me about – I have a group of people who are praying and seriously considering moving in together in a community. Pray your dream comes to pass! Nidus was great wasn’t it? SO glad to have it in my town and was able to hype it up on Faith FM! I love Brian Mclearn! Have you read Shane Claibrone’s book? It is a *must* read…

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