Hey up/rooted friends!
Sorry it has taken me so long to get this update out. The holiday kind of threw everything off for me. As you know, two weeks ago we were joined by several friend from the Psalters, as well as Melissa DeLong from Camden House in Camden, NJ to talk about intentional communities and radical discipleship.
We began by defining our terms. Jay from the Psalters taught us that radical=root, which means that radical discipleship is about reconnecting to the historic roots of the church. It is a return to an Acts 2 style church in which the disciples shared their resources and ended poverty among themselves. An intentional community is thus a community of people who choose to live according to this lifestyle of sharing. We also talked about how being a disciple means embracing discipline, and thus people who choose to live intentionally in community with one another agree to a particular discipline or rule of life that defines their community. It is a deliberate choice to live differently from the pattern of this world.
I suppose this is why intentional communities are often said to be part of a new monasticism. However, this monasticism is not about isolating from the world, but about being a transformative presence within it for justice.The goal of community, they said, was to be "a shockwave of love in the world", which is why the most successful communities have a missional edge to them.
As we opened it up for questions, most of us from up/rooted wanted to know how the values and lifestyles of these intentional communities could translate into a suburban context. Several of us felt the intense difficulty of living in this way of sharing and simplicity and community when it goes so against the grain of our affluent suburban culture. We talked about the fragmentation of community that we already experience between home and church and work and school, etc., and asked how we could begin to put those pieces together in that setting, while realizing that few of us are going to be able to recreate the kind of intentional communal setting that groups like the Psalters or Camden House have created.
Other questions had to do with how to integrate children into this radical lifestyle, the fine line between discipline and legalism, the tension between being countercultural and being culturally relevant, and also the dangers of spiritual pride or judgmentalism that might creep in to those who practice a radical discipleship. The conversation was animated and free flowing, and I think I can safely say that we all learned a lot from each other. While not all of us may be called to this style of communal radical discipleship, all of us were inspired to creatively discover how we can begin to live radically in our own ways and in our own communities.
Please remember the Psalters, Melissa, as well as Kristine Socall and others from Adventrek who are traveling in Turkey this month (until Christmas). They are working and living with Kurdish Refugees, hearing their stories and learning from their way of life. They also have some opportunities to meet and learn from local musicians and spiritual leaders, as well as visit those ancient cities we read about like Cappodoccia, Ephesus, and Istanbul.
And don't forget that we will be meeting again for up/rooted on Monday, December 11 from 7-9pm at Redeemer Church in Park Ridge (1006 Gillick St) to hear from Dr. Scot McKnight from North Park University about his new book, The Real Mary. Hope to see you there!