|Religious Cohousing Communities||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Sandy Bodzin (sb5i+andrew.cmu.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 21 Jul 94 13:47 CDT|
Excerpts from mail: 21-Jul-94 COHOUSING-L digest 207 by cohousing-l [at] uci.com > On Mon, 11 Jul 1994, Sandy Bodzin wrote: > > > Can anyone please explain the difffernece between an intentional > > community and a cohousing community? > > To me, there are several key differences between intentional communities > and cohousing communities: > > 1. Intentional communities usually have some sort of economic base that is > shared; some sort of communal means of support, or partial support. Not > so with cohousing, at least not yet. > > 2. Intentional communities usually have either a shared philosophy, shared > religious/spiritual beliefs and practices, and/or a single central leader. > Cohousing communities usually have none of these. Therefore, cohousing > communities are usually not concerned that their members have similar > views, beyond some very loosely defined values. The process of new member > "selection" is therefore less rigorous, less controlled, in cohousing. > Usually the process is one of "self-selection", in other words anyone who > wants to can join. > > 3. Cohousing has more extensive private spaces than most intentional > communities, with each household (or family) having their own complete > housing unit. This is usually not the case within intentional > communities. > Thanks for this useful post. I suppose some of my confusion stems from the dual definition of intentional community from the literal definition of the words to the way the concept is generally implemented (i.e. communes, although thanks for pointing out that these vary a great deal in and of themselves). I suppose I've been feeling somewhat uneasy about my introduction to cohousing/intentional communities because the community I seek to establish mixes the three elements you specify (I've been figuring this out myself and your post spelled things out clearly). Specifically, I adhere to the cohousing model for #1 and #3 (I favor independent finances and recognize the need for privacy) but WRT #2 I lean toward the intentional community design. The idea of sharing true "community" is appealing to me but far more so if I share a common ideological base with those who would be my neighbors. I am a traditional/observant Jew who recognizes that the general state of community where I live (suburban Philadelphia) is abysmal and the Jewish community here suffers because it is limited by the constraints of its surroundings (Traditional Judaism requires a community to live close to a synogogue since driving on the Sabbath and Holidays are prohibited). I dislike where I live so much that I have given frequent thought to moving. However, I like my job and there is no guarantee that the place I move to will be any better (though it's hard for it to be much worse :-)). So I got to thinking: Why not form my own community where there is a genuine sense of community (ala the cohousing model)? But doing this would leave me without a religious community. Instead, if I could form this cohousing community and establish a religious community at the same time that would accomplish everything I look for. Had I adopted a general cohousing model I would've struggled to get started because the concept is very new in this area. The struggle has grown geometrically because I choose not to fit into either a strict cohousing model or a communal model. Therefore resources have been far fewer. Just as I was getting discouraged I read Allen Butcher's letter (posted by Rob Sandelin in the same COHOUSING-L Digest) in which he encourages people to think of the notion of intentional community as a spectrum ranging from a no private property/no private space commune (let's call this the left end of of the spectrum) to a privately owned/no shared facilities land trust (call this the right end of the spectrum). With this in mind I place myself to the left of center in this spectrum. I suppose that the communities Allen noted that have been fashioned from an ideological perspective but which do not actively recruit/filter participants based on the furtherance of that ideology would be just left of center and I'd be just left of that. So if anyone has any experience doing what I seek I'd love to hear from you. I'm not really sure that anyone has adopted this model for their intentional community yet. I do know that there are some communities that have a been fashioned from an ideological perspective - as Allen writes "Specific movements like Egalitarian, Emissary, Quaker, Sufi, Catholic, Monastic, Hindu, minority, survivalist, Lesbian separatist, Gay, Native American, Fundamentalist, New Age Christian..." - and I'd like to contact them concerning what role religion/ideology play in the functioning of their communities. One thing I struggle with particularly is the legal issues inherent in choosing your neighbors from a common religious background. How have the above groups dealt with this issue? Do you leave it to self-selection? If you or anyone you know is a traditional/observant Jew and is looking for a more meaningful community experience I'd be thrilled to talk all this over with you. Thanks for all the help this group has been so far. I look forward to hearing your comments. -Sandy
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