Our Community

So I realized awhile ago that I’ve never really described The Abbey, which is the intentional community I live in. I’ve always just assumed that the people reading this know enough about me and my life to know what’s going on. But I’ve started seeing searches pop up for intentional community (that’s right, I see what you search) and have been meaning to do this post for awhile but have kind of put it off for a couple of reasons.

I’m always afraid that I’ll oversell this. This is the sort of lifestyle that is really difficult and shouldn’t be walked into lightly or because it’s convenient. It’s taken us two years to come to this point, and that has been a rough time. We’ve taken up the saying that community is the hardest and worst lifestyle – except for every other one.

Also, I don’t necessarily want to slap a mission statement on us or try to create some other sort of “about us” blurb. We are a community made up of people that are constantly growing and changing, and thus our collective is always morphing; we are nowhere near what we were two years ago, or even just a few months ago, and are acutely aware that we are on a journey together.

Trying to summarize all of that in a paragraph places us in a box that we may not want to be in at some point in the future. So far, the closest we’ve come to a statement about ourselves it that we are trying to make a life in the way of Jesus.

Ideally, the best way to get to know our community is to interact with us; talk with one of us, come to a meal, come to one of our larger cohort gatherings, or go out to coffee/beer (but not with me)/tea/your drink of choice with us. Come live life with us!

So with all of that said, here are a few snapshots of life here:

We’re funded by several facets of the Lutheran Church, which has essentially invested in us to try to find a creative way of being a Christian. We all have our own views of where institutional religion is going (often depending on our latest interactions with the church whose property we live on), but we are not particularly institutional ourselves.

We snatch up many of our ideas from other intentional communities, who have often been at this longer than us. Looking at their stories is a good reminder that we are not nearly as radical as we may feel sometimes.

We are intergenerational, and find value both in the experiences and wisdom of our elders and in mentoring those younger than us to come behind us to continue our work.

We value creativity, holistic lifestyles, flexibility, community, relationship, authenticity, simplicity, artisan/handmade objects, both financial and ecological sustainability, and balance. (I’m sure there are more adjectives that Summer, Joshua and Daniel would add, but those are the main ones I can think of off the top of my head.)

We are committed to maintaining external service and not becoming insular. As a part of our fall sabbath, part of what we are working through is how to balance external work with internal quiet; what does it look like to keep the balance between those two?

Our community work is centered mainly around the elderly and the homeless. For some time, we also did work with youth and the arts, but that eventually fizzled out. Concretely, that primarily looks like working with our local free meal programs, helping to start up a local free clinic, and taking homeless folks into our home. We’re also working on a major project to create a living space for long-term support for mentally disabled and/or homeless people, but that is a ways off.

We are a community of broken, fallen people attempting to live our lives in the ways of Jesus and bring light to both our little corner of the universe and the world at large. At various times, we must all both humbly request forgiveness and openly offer grace to each other, and accept that none of us have all of the answers and are done growing.

But remember! This is also the effort of one person to sum up our community. For other viewpoints, check out Josh andSummer (we haven’t pulled Daniel onto the blogging bandwagon yet).

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