Sunday, October 5, 2008

Communal Finances

I came across an inspiring story about a monastery with a very successful business. It demonstrates that a community can take care of itself without compromising its simple, prayerful way of life.

Despite vows of poverty, they’re millionaire monks
Wisconsin monastery sells printer products online; profits go to charity

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I have just encountered a new ezine, Penny Justice, promoting the idea of "re-localization."

Click the link. It is worth reading about, I believe, and provides another motive for forming a community.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I see freedom in communal life.

When one willingly surrenders all their earthly possessions to the community, one also turns away from the worry, fear and anxiety that come along with amassing an earthly fortune. No longer enslaved to debts and wages, the member of a Christian community shares his burdens with many, making a lighter load.

“Bear one another's burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2)

It is a radical way of life requiring great commitment and forethought from which it would be difficult to extricate oneself after a long time. But it may also be a better life.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Well I was talking to my boyfriend about the commune type of community, and he does not understand why I would want to live in one. He seems to think it is just because I do not want to move away from John and Katie Russell.

Where this may be part of the idea, it is certainly not all of the issue. I want to live with like minded people whom I can have open conversations with and I would almost never be alone (I hate being alone). In fact, it is sad, but I do not even do well when I am up and everyone else is asleep! However, that is not the entire reason either. I do not even know why I want this.

Every time I think of the commune, I want it. There is not really a strong explanation. So I ask all of you... why do you want it????

Monday, October 8, 2007

Speaking out of line?

I may be speaking out of line at this time, my intent for this post is to present another idea that came to me when reading some of the discussion. Now please remember this is a message I hear, I do not expect anyone else to hear it…

Genesis 12:1 “The LORD said to Abram: "Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you…”

I hear him calling me to a life that requires me to give up all. I feel he will lead me to the place I am to be, he will provide for me when I get there, and if I have to leave. I am not sure if I want to ask too many questions before I go. I know at this point I am trying to get relationships and finances in order for this. That is all I know.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A Response to Excellent Concerns

I began this post as a comment under "Commune Lite." I have moved it here due to its length.


Firstly, allow me to say that your concerns are well rooted and eminently practical (something I am not at all). They are, perhaps, too practical for this idealist stage of pure speculation. The "what" and the "why" precede the "how." Nevertheless, I will - hesitantly - try to make some answer, as I am able at this point.

You write,
"If we had to leave, how could we possibly do it without being financially ruined?"
I suppose I may be revealing economic ignorance by admitting I don't understand this question. If some have to leave, they'll have to get new jobs, just like if they have to leave where they are now. If they leave the community, it has less people to provide for - therefore less need of their financial support. Perhaps you are talking about retirement savings?

Possibly, the community could set up a kind of "CRA" (community retirement account). This would have the advantage of commanding a higher interest rate due to its higher balance. If members leave the community, they could take with them the money they put in during their membership plus the interest it has earned. In this way, as long as they live in the community, ownership is common; should they choose to leave, they could revert to private ownership. Again, perhaps I am revealing economic ignorance?

You write,
"How do we solve differences of opinion in the 'outside world' factor?"
It is absolutely certain that differences of opinion regarding this and many other issues will surface on a regular basis. Undeniably, entering the community involves self-sacrifice. Such differences should be settled in the chapter room, wherein the community regularly meets to discuss its affairs in all charity. Ultimately and ideally, our bishop would govern these meetings. Many issues could be resolved democratically. But, the individual would have to sacrifice certain of his own desires to continue living in the community. We all would benefit from this. We all could be more humble.

You write,
"How do we solve the church question?"

This is the most important of your concerns, I believe. The community must form around the Church. It must begin and end with the Church. Without the Church's approval and endorsement, we are nothing. It may be that the Church refuses us as quacks. Let us submit to her wisdom, then. So be it. It may be that the Church does indeed endorse a community seeking to live the apostolic way. Let us submit to her wisdom, then too. So be it.

You write,
"If this ever works out we would probably just have to go to the church of our choice in the closest town"

This is not what I envision. As I say, I believe we should begin with the Church. I believe the community should attend one church of one rite or the other. If we are not common in prayer, then there is no reason for us to be a community. A bi-ritual community, while possible, would be confused. The different Churches even follow different calendars. It would be quite awkward for some members of the community to be fasting while others are feasting. The community must be as one. In prayer above all things, it must be as one.

For the sake of unity in prayer, the community must begin with the Church. If we "buy houses on the same block," as Dave suggests, the church should already be on that block.

I have already done this. I already live somewhat like Dave suggests. My beloved wife, son, and I live in a semi-common situation with Dusty - retaining private ownership. We live next to our parish church, to which we give ten-percent of our income. The parish uses these funds, in part, to maintain common buildings, such as a community hall where we share meals with the parish two or three times a week and a school building that it seeks to renovate and turn into a school. It is, as Dave often points out, fun. If others wish to join us, many houses are for sale in the neighborhood.

But I hope for something more than this. I hope, but do not unwaveringly expect.

Commune Lite

Another possible model for a Christian community would be for everyone to agree to buy houses on the same block--but still retain private ownership on these buildings. Then each family or individual would agree to pay a certain amount into a community fund, which would be used to buy common buildings such as a school and community center, and also to finance common meals. Of course, these meals could either be served at the community center or on a rotational basis at each family's home. The community funds would have to be set up as a non-profit corporation, of which each family owns a share.

The advantage of retaining a certain degree of private ownership is that it would be much easier for a family who needed to move--for whatever reason--to do so without becoming destitute or disrupting the community's finances.