Are Rules Helpful? WAS Environmental sensitivities in community?
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2018 08:05:25 -0800 (PST)
Sharon said:
"It has worked well for us to just talk about these things and not
make rules. When you create a rule, you automatically create a crime.
A rule is a line that no one is supposed to cross — or else? In
cohousing we generally have no “or else's” to enforce rules, so it is
an empty rule. But it makes everyone feel guilty."

Liz Replies
Just want to say that this is an opinion of Sharon's, not a fact. It
comes up often on this list.

Each community has its own idea of what rules/guidelines/policies mean
to them. For example, for me, they provide clarity. I'm quite
uncomfortable with the idea that "everyone knows this" and it isn't
written down anywhere for a new person to be able to "know" it. Or for
an old person to get hollered at because they forgot the thing that
"everyone knows".

Or, most common, no one is willing to ask Juan to follow this because
"it's not really a rule, you know. We just wish that Juan would see
that everyone else is doing it so he should too."

I don't know all the things everyone in my community is allergic to.
Until we had a "nuts in the common house policy" I had no idea that
chickpeas were allergens. I look up the policy often because I only
remember that there is something that doesn't seem like a nut that is
an allergen.

If your community is made up of people who like clarity and are feel
unsafe when there are "unwritten rules" then be a community that
provides clarity.
I find it makes some anti-rules people feel better if they are called

(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
Minister to the Affiliates, Ecclesia Ministries

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