Looking for the good life in community for times like these…

by Tom Sine —

Redefining the Good LifeLast week we took you on a tour of cohousing communities and visited with the good people in the Temescal  Commons Community .  We not only met people who created a more community based way of life they also created one small alternative view of the good life.

Is it possible that many of us who are followers of Christ have settled for a culturally defined  notion of the good life?  Is it possible that many of us have settled for an individualistic way of life and allowed “the American dream and the seduction of the imperial, global mall” to define our notions of the good life and trivialized our faith “to life is little more than a devotional “add-on””?

“We are constantly trying to motivate followers of Jesus to take back their lives. Instead of allowing class, income, and culture to define their lifestyles, we want them to turn to Scripture to help them redefine their notions of the good life. Jesus’ paradoxical teachings remind us that we can’t find life by pursuing it. Only as we lose our lives in service to God and others do we have any possibility of discovering the good life of God…”

“I encourage Christians to begin the journey into a more authentic and whole life faith not by simplifying, but rather by celebrating the good life of God. Create celebrations that put forth a very different vision for the human future than the one trumpeted by the global mall or American Idol. We encourage people to create imaginative, joyful celebrations around the imagery of God’s homecoming as a banquet feast, a wedding jubilation, or a harvest celebration.”

“The place to begin discovering the good life of God is by gathering in a small groups to discern God’s call on our lives. Using active listening, help one another reinvent how we steward both time and money to more intentionally live into that call by freeing up daily time for spiritual practices and weekly time for community, and by reaching out to neighbors, caring for creation, and making more time to celebrate!

Some may be motivated to abandon the single-family, detached housing model and create a more sustainable, community-based ways of living. (After all, single-family dwelling did not come with the ark of the covenant, and is the most isolated and energy-land-capital intensive way one can live.)… “

“I encourage Christian colleges to construct intergenerational co-housing communities on their campuses which provide students an opportunity to experience a more cooperative, sustainable way of life…. Furthermore, as Christians, we must find ways to reduce our vulnerability in order to free up time to become God’s compassion to neighbors near and far in what promises to be turbulent times… to glimpse that new creation and God’s quiet conspiracy that is destined to make all things new.”

Should followers of Jesus bring scripture to bear not only on their spiritual values and moral values but their cultural values too…biblically re-defining the good life?

{This post is drawn extensively from “God’s Quiet Conspiracy in a Post-oil Future” in Conspire Magazine Summer 2010}