Intentional Community – Our Favorite Resources

Rich and Melinda share their favorite resources for people who want to join or start an intentional community.

 

Video transcript:

MELINDA
In this episode of our series on intentional community we’re going to talk about sources we’ve found helpful in our life together. 

RICHARD
None of those resources are other videos which is too bad. They’re mostly books. If you don’t like reading, not to worry – there’s probably an audio version available. 

MELINDA
Or possibly even a podcast. 

RICHARD
I just listened to all 36 hours of Anna Karenina read by Maggie Gyllenhaal and it was epic! I’m convinced you actually get more out of a book by listening to it. 

MELINDA
Weirdly enough I just picked up a copy of that book myself a while ago. But whatever. Let’s do our recommendations. First up is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. 

RICHARD
Great book. 

MELINDA
Let me guess: You listened to the audiobook version of it read by Lin Manuel Miranda? 

RICHARD
You’re hilarious. Actually I read the physical book this time. Most people know Bonhoeffer for his courageous stand against National Socialism but he also briefly lived in community – an underground seminary in Poland. In the book he talks about integrating faith into daily life, the balance between community and solitude, learning to be silent, how to have difficult conversations with fellow community members. It’s really good stuff and still holds up 80 years later. 

MELINDA
Next up is Called to Community a collection of essays from a really diverse group of authors compiled by Bruderhof member Charles Moore. It’s intended to be read and discussed together with others; the point of the book is to actually help the reader build community with others. It’s broken into sections: A Call to Community, Forming Community, Life in Community, and so forth. For anyone in the process of starting an intentional community this book’s a must. Oh and I love the opening line of Stanley Hauerwas’ foreword to the book: “Community is dangerous.” 

RICHARD
Very dangerous with people like you in it. On to the next: Community and Growth by Jean Vanier. 

MELINDA
Or, as some call him, Jeen Vanyeer. 

RICHARD
Personally I prefer that to the really annoying NPR correspondent types who go from speaking with a normal American accent to pronouncing foreign words with very foreign accents. Especially Spanish. Anyway, Jean Vanier is such an inspiration. If you don’t know about him, he founded a communal movement called L’Arche for people with developmental disabilities. And that experience gives his writing real authority. Probably the most important theme he hits is that community is founded on frailty, not strength. People who come into a community with an agenda, wanting to do their own thing will be a disaster for the community. Check out L’Arche online; they have many locations now, all around the world. 

MELINDA
The last resource I would recommend is an essay by Eberhard Arnold, one of the Bruderhof’s founders, which was recently republished as “Why We Live in Community: A Manifesto.” 

RICHARD
Very edgy. 

MELINDA
It’s not so much a how–to guide but it presents the Christian argument for life together. And the great thing is this isn’t a book (or an audiobook) you have to go and buy. There’s a link to the article right down there in the description below. 

RICHARD
We’re also putting links for the Foundation for Intentional Community website, the Nurturing Communities Project website, and The Intentional Christian Community Handbook by David Janzen. All good resources.

MELINDA
And that’s it. Like this video if you liked it, subscribe if you haven’t already, and ring the bell so you don’t miss our next upload.