At the risk of stirring up a little dust, I want to ask you folks on this message board what they think, or what experiences any of you may have had in relation to Christian communes (people of faith, living together either at the same address (eg: farm setup, large house, apartment block) or just deliberately next to each other in the same street?
Some claim to have experienced success in such ventures, but by far the majority of reports I've had have been of failure. I don't want to 'rain on anyone's parade' but I feel a sense of caution about such things, due to some bad experiences of my own. What do you think...?
I have read the all the posts on this website and I would now like to comment on my experience with Christian communities, especially to Austin from downunder. First of all, we all live in community, whether it is intentional or not. The world is a community! The scriptural justification for community is found in Acts 2:44, 45 And Acts 4:32-35. I was saved by a Christian community who lived totally by faith and without engaging in any form of commerce. Not only did we survive, but we prospered spiritually and materially and since I left that community, I have never experienced the joy and sense of purpose til this day. However, that community met its demise because of one man's personal ambition and lack of self-control which caused it to become another infamous cult. However, that did not cause me to forget the genuine experience I had before it became corrupt. Though it has been over thirty years and twenty-five other communities since that time, I have only become more convinced that community is the way God intended for us to live.
It not only seems biblical and spiritual to me to live in community, but also it makes good sense. The best example of a successful community that I have visited, in a practical sense, was the communities of the Bruderhof. Bruderhof.org or .com Although I found their doctrine to be weak and their joy almost non existent, They are a financially and politically successful and growing organization. They have a lot of good things that work and so I could certainly pattern a community after them in some respects.
Living in community does free up a lot of resources for the great commission by pooling a lot of resources and talent and also for utilizing the combined experience and creativity of all the members. The Bruderhof rule by consensus and a unanimous vote. The elders do the same menial tasks as anyone else and their vote is counted equally. In fact the elders are elders because they sacrifice the most for the community.
The only faults I see is the fact that their communities are too large and because of the large numbers in each community, the decision process is too cumbersome and the logistics of running such a large community is quite complicated.
They do have dealings with the outside world however through their commerce and the many visitors they have and the media they publish. I would say that they are the best of all the communities my wife and I have visited in terms of solid organization and stability. But the love and warmth of Christ is very much subdued and there is very little worship and Bible study. I believe that that is a result of the large numbers of people and the the focus on working to provide for the community which consumes much of their day.
I cannot speak of Koinonia because I visited on a day when everyone was gone and there was no one to give a tour. I have read about them however, and plan to visit again.
It is my theory that community is the best way for Christians to live. However is is for disciples and not for casual professed Christians. It certainly requires commitment to Christ and to each other and a great deal of accountability. There should be fellowship and communication with other communities and a sharing of resources. A community should be no larger that thirty adults and each community should have its own service business and health insurance plan and be self-sufficient if possible. They could have a cleaning and janitorial or landscaping and lawn business or home repair or taxi company or something along those lines. That way you could reach out with the gospel as well as make a living and establish long-term relationships with possible converts. When the community got the the point that it is becoming too difficult to manage, then allow God to divide it into two communities, like cells divide in the natural realm.
Living in community allows people to interact more often and to rub against each other and take off the rough edges of their personalities. It causes people to see their weaknesses and where they need to work on themselves, (or rather let the Holy Spirit work on them). Also it is harder to hide your problems from each other or to backslide either. You are more accountable and obtainable as well.
It is possible for everyone to have their private space and still live in community as it is being done all over the world as I write. In fact it is more affordable in community and you have no mortgage to cause you to devote more of your precious time working for this devil's world system and enriching those who persecute us. Also we don't have to pay as much taxes which are spent on the machinery of war and other foolishness, such as NASA and politicians' salaries!
I know it is God's will for people to live together in unity and harmony and so how can you dispute living in community? What are we saved to do but to show a new way of living? Are we saved to be better materialists? Isn't God's economy to be different than the worlds'?