I visited Twin Oaks, a sister community of East Wind, about thirteen years ago. My sense was that this group had a better handle on resolving and preventing conflict (at that time) than East Wind did. I really loved it there, only spending about three days.
I liked this example of a small group within a larger community. This reminds me of the trend of having life groups, home churches, small groups and so forth in church arenas so that people could have more intimacy and honesty. Here is the description:
I thought this segment was particularly revealing about what they value in terms of relationships:
“Communication Norms: Unlike other residences, we have agreed to talking directly to each other about any significant difficulties we’re having with each other, and working out conflict between members of our household.”
For some reason this very basic idea of talking to people directly about problems, which is taught clearly by Jesus in Matthew, is not the norm at Twin Oaks. This surprises me, because they have such a long-standing and successful community. Yet I am guessing there might be more tension that is necessary because direct communication about issues is not valued by all. I sure value it a lot! My training in Nonviolent Communication as taught by Marshall Rosenberg has really helped me in this area.