What does that mean?
An intentional community: a community that draws on the tradition of service and justice that we understand to be at the core of our faith commitments, whose members will live simply, participate in a communal way, and explore both new and ancient spiritual practices as they engage in the neighborhood where they live and with the organizations that they serve.
Next door to the Lawrence Road Church, something new and exciting is happening. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we are working hard to create an intentional Christian community of young adults with a strong heart for the city and a passion to serve.
But what does that mean, really? What does that look like in practice?
Are we talking about the old hippie communes of my West Coast childhood....
Or is this more of what we have in mind....
Or, Lord help us and the neighborhood, too, this.....
The truth is that intentional communities are as different as the people who live in them, different from year to year, from one class of residents to another. Our intentional community may look a lot like its sister Bethany House of Hospitality….
Or it may look altogether different. Only time will tell.
But here are a few of the basics. Our five residents will be young men and women, defined as 21-something to 35-something, all of whom will be engaged in some form of service to the greater Trenton area. They will share the house at 1069 Lawrence Road. They will each have their own room, but they'll share the common spaces. They'll share meals, too, with me and other members of the community at least once a week for Vespers, and more depending on what they decide for themselves. With my help, they will together develop a covenant, a rule of life, which will guide them in decision-making and conflict-resolution.
For conflicts there will be. We know that going into intentional community, that living together in close quarters will require the intentional practices of grace, forgiveness, forbearance, and humility. Blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus said. Blessed are the meek, the humble, the poor in spirit. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
In its essence, intentional community is a way of living that demands that those who practice it successfully will live out what Jesus meant when he said that we were to love one another as we love ourselves, forgiving 7 times 70, loving God through loving the neighbor who lives down the hall. Pretty counter-cultural when you think about. But truly this is the stuff of which the next generation of Christian leaders will be made.