1. Voluntary Poverty (simplicity and giving our work for free)
• communal living (e.g., co-op purchases, common work, co-housing)
• daily prayer/communion (thy kingdom come…for daily bread)
• sharing of money and possessions
• gift-economy for getting our own needs met
• second-hand/homemade stuff
• urban farming–eating what we grow
• walking/public transit/biking instead of dependence on personal vehicles
2. Accompaniment (commitment to hospitality, spiritual direction, and a shared life)
• communal “lovemeal” (e.g., cashbox combined with eucharist)
• daily prayer/communion (thy kingdom come…on behalf of others)
• hospitality–guests coming to stay with us
• neighborhood groups for mutual support and care
• weekly scheduled neighborhood-based gatherings
• parties or special events in the neighborhood
• weekly work in the 14th St. Garden (formerly the “Jesus Center Community Garden”)
• monthly spiritual direction (e.g., at the Abbey of New Clairvaux)
• neighborhood library and prayer room
3. Enemy-love (non-violence, reconciliation, peacemaking, and healing)
• communal support and creativity in the midst of conflict (e.g., giving freely, prayers and blessing for enemies, etc.)
• daily prayer/communion (thy kingdom come…for deliverance from evil)
• alternative holidays with music, art, and dramatic expression (e.g., themes of peace, joy, hope, etc.), following the Christian calendar
• forgiveness of debts/release of prisoners
• weekly counseling and conflict resolution
About Our Experiment
This ‘rule of faith’ is really just a quasi-riskier-than-usual attempt my wife and I have devised in order to take the ‘next step’ in learning to follow Jesus more faithfully. Of course, we expect to practice these promises among others and, hopefully, in a community that we can help start here in Chico (in fact, we are discussing the possibilities right now with some friends). On the other hand, we’re willing to go slowly and perhaps even practice them alone, if need be.
We also understand that making a choice to pursue something new ought to take a longish amount of time before any true commitment becomes evident. We see our participation in terms of a six month semester (to start with). It might be helpful to think of our experiment as a semester abroad—in that we will be learning to live immersed in a new way of life—or like an old-school trade apprenticeship, like blacksmithing or animal husbandry. Our specific goals will be integrated into an overlapping practice, depending on our individual calling, vocation, and skill. Weekly meetings with one another and trusted community members will assist us to find balance during the process. Orientation will also include a seminar-style monthly learning group for folks interested in community life.
For more information into my perspective on community life and following Jesus, see my blog and specifically my posts titled, The Look of My Church 1, 2, 2.5, and 3.
About Our Place
We are located in a small Northern Californian city by the name of Chico (no pun intended), often recognized for our local microbrewery, a large city park, the historic downtown, the local food scene, and many tragic stories of drunkenness at Chico State. The house we reside in sits at the intersection of a great neighborhood called Chapmantown, a culturally diverse mix of poor and working class families, activists, artists, gang members, homeless, medical marijuana growers, and squirrels…lots of them. You can read on my blog about our community garden project and see a side shot of the house, with a view of 14th St. As well, please check out an article done by the city’s newspaper covering the Chapman/Mulberry Neighborhood. Contact me personally with questions and/or inquiries about visits (wintonjason AT hotmail DOT com).