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Anna Macdonald

Joined: Aug. 18, 2014

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Re: Searching for community

Aug. 19 at 7:46pm | see this comment in context

That makes sense.

Re: Searching for community

Aug. 19 at 3:30pm | see this comment in context

Katie van Schaijik, Aug. 19 at 2:52pm

I don't want to start an intentional community. What I want to do is help articulate and identify the sound principles for intentional community life. 

So more of an academic interest then, rather than an immediately practical or action-oriented one? Given that your post contrasted yourself with people who find their family/parish life to provide sufficient community, I find that ... odd? I would rhetorically ask you what the point is, of working out the right way to do something, if you're not planning to actually do it... except I've done that so many times myself, it's not really worth asking.

Re: Searching for community

Aug. 19 at 12:24pm | see this comment in context

And if you think you have enough knowledge of the covenant communities not just to identify the problems but also to identify their contributing factors and solution, then more power to you. The suggestion was a casual one, the path that I would probably follow if I were interested in setting up a community, not a suggestion based on a sense that you were lacking anything. 

(The bit about my dad was more of "hey, he just gave me this surprise lesson on covenant history, and now someone's talking about covenant history, so I'm totally going to throw that in!") :)

Out of curiosity, are you actually thinking at all about starting a better community? Or is it more just an identified need at this point? 

Re: Searching for community

Aug. 19 at 12:23pm | see this comment in context

I was not suggesting you research covenant communities to find out whether they were cultish; I was thinking that if you want to start an intentional community without those problems, it might be helpful to know the details of how the attitudes arose in the first place, what contributed to them, whether there were any structural or other factors (like varying leadership personalities) that made the problem worse or better in one community vs. another, whether any community made any progress in reducing the problem, and if so, what did they do that helped, and if not, what—if anything—did they try that failed... stuff like that. As I think I said before, if you have more positive examples of healthy lay communities to draw from, then looking at the covenant communities may be unnecessary, because then you have a positive guide to follow. 

Re: Searching for community

Aug. 19 at 12:21pm | see this comment in context

I think you and I had different ideas about what we were talking about. I wasn't trying to defend covenant communities against the charge of cultism. I didn't avoid the question to try to discredit the question; I avoided the question because I took it as an agreed fact between us that cultism has been a serious issue for the covenant communities. Since you ask, I will say that I don't think of the covenant community that I grew up in as a cult, per se, but mostly because that word brings up images in my mind of a more extreme stereotype of "cult" than I experienced. For sure, the covenant communities have had problems with denial, blaming problems on the afflicted members, ostracizing former members, discouraging disagreement with leadership, and other cultish problems. (I was, in fact, originally saying that I think it's impossible to have a close-knit community WITHOUT these problems, although I then accepted your point about having problems vs. those problems being at a level of dysfunction.)

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