|"CC", "SC" in general, and "N" (lm)||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: CHRISTINE COE (CHRISTINECOE1MSN.COM)|
|Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 10:57:12 -0800 (PST)|
Dear Cohousing-List-- Thanks, Rob, for the cautionary statements about cohousing which highlights any one particular faith-view. From my experience, it makes all the difference in the world when and if a group like this comes together to be an insular, "holy huddle" vs. a group that gregariously reaches out in hospitality to a variety of people. This, historically, was the difference between the very restrictive Essenes at Q'mran and the early Jerusalem Jewish Christian communities, who were accused of being atheists and anarchists for working to subvert the social order by allowing, among other things, men and women, servants and children, Jews and Gentiles to eat at the same table, at the same time, in fellowship. This was an unheard- of affront to both the Judaism and the secular Greek and Roman philosophies of that day. It is perhaps surprising to learn that these kinds of communities openly flaunted their rebellion against an oppressive social order. The Magna Charta of human relationships was penned by Paul in Gal. 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (admittedly not the open-ended statement of interfaith ecumenism many might hope for-- but radically subversive for its day). This, coming from a man who used to pray, "I thank God that Thou didst not make me a woman, a slave, or a Greek" as part of his morning spiritual imprecations. Could it be that there really is a remedy for sectarian, class-dominated male chauvinism? That might certainly indicate there really is a God! Something certainly changed Paul's mind radically-- he credits it to getting "straightened-out" by Jesus. Part of it, at least, came from a fresh look at Gen. 1:27, where God is represented as deciding to create humankind in "his image, male and female he created them." Centuries of male theologians viewed the "male and female" part as an incidental added detail; when in fact it is an explanation of what it means to be created in God's image, as a dynamic fellowship of inter-related and distinct persons who together most faithfully represent the image of God. That is, God being neither merely male nor female, can only be accurately imaged by both coming together in good-hearted, gregarious, equal fellowship. That spirit seems to be very evident in this listserv. Let me hasten to add that I am painfully aware of the many excesses carried out in the name of Christianity. These are particularly egregious since one of the central premises is that the kind of change of heart necessary for hope-filled living cannot be legislated (Gal. 3:21), it has to be seen faithfully demonstrated. I struggle, along with many of you, to continue to hope for a better future, in the midst of a mess. It's, at least in part, your hope in the future of cohousing we share; but there is still much work to do. A mutually-respectful, hopeful dialogue must also go forward. Rob wrote earlier about a visit to the Mennonite cohousing community in Seattle, and seems to have concluded that they were nice folks. I can only guess he felt welcomed and included among them. I would only hope that he'd feel similarly amidst a group like ours. We do, by the way, have two members who are not Christians, by their own description, who nevertheless are active and valued participants and who have agreed to our ethos. We'd welcome any questions or comments about the webpage or related issues it brings up; www.bartcommunity.org<http://www.bartcommunity.org/>, and welcome inquiries or visitors. I certainly don't think it will be everybody's cup of tea. I just hope it will be found worthy of the "cohousing" designation, and that we can feel included in things, by virtue of the large-hearted inclusiveness of this movement. I'd hope to be able to weather the inevitable misunderstandings of our project and criticisms of the faith position (many of which I agree with) which has driven other cohousers to stay "under the radar." Rob's comments are pertinent: "Somewhat early on they got blasted by somebody or other (Not me!) and decided that they are really not interested in being part of any "movements" thank you, and thus they do not participate in any networking or other connection to the greater cohousing world. I happen to have a personal connection which is the only reason I know of them at all, and I must admit they were very nervous about me coming to visit the first time, afraid I would "blow the whistle" on them, tell them they were misappropriating cohousing because they have a religious foundation. Of course I did nothing of the sort." Large-heartedness is the atmosphere in which any real social progress happens. We are willing to be put to those tests. We will inevitably fail some of them, in your minds, just as each of us individually fails on occasion. Perhaps there is room for the kind of forgiving acceptance which undergirds so many of your lives, as far as I can tell, from reading your posts and hearing your hearts. Best wishes for the season! Guy and Christine Coe
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