By now, some of you that follow this blog have picked up on the most recent theme of our posts. Those who we have looked to for wisdom beyond these brick walls have posed the following questions to our community leaders: why do you live and invest in Atangard and what makes it worth it to you? These questions and the like are what we are seeking to answer in our most recent entries.
When I first got involved in this community I did so with no intention of becoming a resident. My first motive was to get involved because I had friends who where excited and implicated. My second was probably the prospect of new friendships. As well, at the time I was unemployed and awaiting summer work, so I had an ample amount of time that needed to be occupied (which was, thanks to the renovation process). After I got involved and started to experience the passion and excitement of those around me, I too started to look ahead in anticipation of this downtown community.
Nine months later, however, I moved in and six months after that I stepped into a position as a director. At that point, mostly do to the responses that I had received from those I spoke to regarding this project, I realized that it was different and special, and possibly a bit counter cultural. Being a fairly social, 24 year old sociology student, the idea of living in a communal setting with well over 20 people was extremely attractive. Further still, after being asked if I wanted to become a director, I did so because I thought it would be a good way to involve myself.
I think it is important to mention that I have been physically absent from the community for 4 of the 7 months that I have been a resident. During this time, I had been left with a similar ideal and understanding of the community as I did when I was first involved. And now, after living here for the past few months, amongst many who have been here since the beginning, I find myself with an ambiguous understanding of community living.
Perhaps, it may be helpful to compare my own position living here with that of the Christian walk of faith. When one becomes a Christian, it seems, there is much passion for a relationship with Christ and a desire to pursue a godly life; however, there may be a severe lack of understanding in how this relationship should play out. Of course, one is expected to mature and grow in their faith so that they may have a more holistic grasp on what it means to be in a relationship with Christ. This is where I find myself in the ethos of community living. I have the desire to pursue living in this community, but, I am still trying to work out what it entails.
I feel like my situation may not be an isolated one. I think that many others who live here are in a similar position or at least share different (and possibly conflicting) ideas regarding community living. Out of this I have two current, overarching reasons for investing in this place.
1.I am at a loss for a proper and holistic understanding of what community living is, why it is valuable, why it is so difficult, and what learned here can transcend our specific situation and help us consider the world around us and our relationship with God. I hope that living here will help me grow in this respect and I feel that since I live here and participate in leadership, it is my responsibility to do so. This conviction I find is in harmony with a verse in the book of James: `Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly` (James 3:1).
2.I am falling in love with those whom I share this space and experience. There is something to be said about the power of the physical to bring people together. For me, this building and the relationships it sponsors has the ability to promote spiritual connections between people, similar to that of shared genetics within a family. I hope to one day leave this place, forever affected by my experience here, taking with me many lasting relationships.
These are the most important reasons why I live and invest in this place and why this investment is worth the next few years of my life.