Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Beginnings and some underlying presupositions of The Community of the Holy Trinity

I have been meaning to post on how the Community began. This will be the first instalment of what is essentially I guess the Three year history of the community.
Although, we did not share housing until June of 2003, the community has it beginnings in the previous year. My wife and I were living in a large apartment in Humbolt Park. Kate was still in school I was finished with Seminary and having been turned down by the doctoral programs I had applied to was attempting to discern where I would go next. In the meant time both of us were pursuing our art, fashion for Kate, and painting for me. This included writing Icons. I had finished my first icons for a church, Cuyler Evangelical Covenant Church. Friends of ours Billy and Laura (both of whom had spent time in Jesus People USA) were talking about wanting to live in community to have a house where people could come and stay who needed a place to go. A place of refuge and recovery if needed. Kate and I at the time did not feel much of a call to community but we began to meet with Billy and Laura to explore what intentional community might mean, and what Scripture and Tradition had to say to us. So we began to meet weekly for Bible Study common meal and discussion. At these meetings we also began to use elements of the daily office to begin our times together.
Bellow is a document I wrote which we used and affirmed as we met and discussed community and eventually felt the call for the four of us to begin an intentional Christian community. I found this document this morning as I was sorting through out some of our files. As I re-read it I found that this document and its presuppositions still largely direct the vision and life of this community. I invite any and all comments.
Presuppositions concerning the Christian Reflection on Community; presented for contemplation, examination and discussion.
Issues of community, justice and art(beaty/creativity) are linked and integral to each other because they concern the economy of the free flow and multiplication of goods (mental, spiritual, actual, physical and potential) The enemy of this is the desire to bind goods to one self solely or primarily for ones own enjoyment and benefit. In community this disorder is expressed in self-reliance and autonomy. In justice this is expressed in seeking after ones own right while ignoring or at the expense of the rights of the other. In art this is expressed in denying ones talents or failing to recongnize art as radical self donation in the act of artistic production, using art as a means to fame or wealth. The creative act of the artist can then be an exemplary of this extravagant economy, for in the act of creation there is extravagant self giving and expenditure of energy. One creates out of an inner impulse directed towards the other. To put it another way; an artist implies an audience, a public to whom the artist offers up without reserve the artist's goods.

The Gospel is the basis of this economy of the free flow of goods. Community, justice an art flow out of the Gospel.

The initial chapters of Acts demonstrate a particular instance of this extravagant economy and is key to our reflections as we reflect on these things.

We are not the first to reflect in this way on these passages in Acts, nor are we the first to attempt to live according to this radical economy. There are those who have come before us with wisdom and discernment. Our reflection and action in community should reflect that others before us have developed community worked for justice with creativity and in the midst of art and the beautiful.

Through the centuries it is in monasticism and monastic rules where the deepest and longest continuous reflection on these Biblical texts and this radical economy have taken place.

Thus any Christian discussion of community justice and art should draw from the Christian tradition of monasticism.

For the purpose of this conventicle we will be reading and reflecting on the rules of St Basil, St. Pachomias, St. Benedict and the rule of the ecumenical Protestant community of Taize.

We reflect and act with both Scriptures and Tradition in order that we may be true scribes of the kingdom bringing out from the storehouse of God and the Church both the new and the old.

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