Becoming the Answer to our Prayers…through community living

Here is an excerpt from the book, BECOME THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS by Shane Claiborne and Jonathon Wilson- Hartgrove

And yet so much in the world tries to rob us of this divine
gift, seducing us to settle for in-
dependence over interdependence
—security over sacrifice—
to the point that community
looks idealistic and spectacular.

We express our deep hunger for
belonging through such forms of
community as nationalism, bio-
logical family, marriage or small
group Bible study. And there is
some good in all of these. Like
appetizers, they give us little glimpses of community. But we
often don’t make it to the feast. We stop short of the great
community that God has invited us into.

This book is an invitation to join the feast already taking
place at the table of our Lord—by becoming the answer to
the prayers Scripture teaches us to pray. Jesus established a
community in his resurrected body. “This is my body, broken
for you” is a physical reminder that we have been baptized
into Christ’s body. As living members of that body, we speak
Christ’s words. Praying the Lord’s Prayer as members of the
church is inviting God to make us what we already are—the
beloved community of a new humanity….

We don’t have to give into greed or work as
everything depends on us. When the options are “get rich”
or “save the world,” we can respond with, “I want to become
part of the people who ask for God’s kingdom to come in their
life together.” We can find our identity not in our work or our
causes, but in “Our Father in heaven.”

End of excerpt…

My conclusion from reading the whole first chapter of this book is that when we try to be the answer to ours and other prayers–in other words–be the hands and feet of Jesus bringing the Kingdom of God on earth–we get burned out unless we have a good support system.

I believe we need a bigger support system than a nuclear family, a church family, a small group family. Living communally with others saves so much time, and prevents burn out. My 35 years of research into community living demonstrates that it is very possible to live in cooperative living arrangements very harmoniously. Unfortunately, I have not found the ideal living arrangement–mostly because my husband and I had different needs.

But now I am ready. I can still be married, and temporarily live apart from my husband. He realizes that this community living is the most important thing in my life. He realizes that he can not and isn’t required to fulfill all my needs. He is my best and dearest friend. I know that without a doubt. And, he is not in a space right now where he is willing to live with others in community. My dream is that he will get to that place.

I look forward to writing more about my vision. You can find out more about what I envision in community http://www.newmonasticism.org

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