Community is Bullshit

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redit: James Darling, https://flic.kr/p/8MvB4k

By Katie Hoogendam. This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 43, Fall 2016, The Collectivity Issue.

The following piece is rooted in my experience as a university student at the Oregon Extension, an intentional educational community based atop a mountain in Lincoln, Oregon.

The Oregon Extension was formed by a collective of independent Christian professors in the mid-1970s and grounded in the works of Thoreau, Dostoevsky, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry. It is known for its cultivation and examination of “big ideas,” and has been touted as a space for seekers of all stripes and disgruntled Christians alike. This article is an update of a story that originally appeared in catapult magazine [online] and in Road Journal magazine in 2008.

God, please help me not be an asshole, is about as common a prayer as I pray in my life. – Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix

The year is 2001. Professor John casts his gaze across the batch of eager new students and, pausing for dramatic effect, calculates the measure of our idealism on some internal register built upon years of guiding sanguine undergrads. “Community is bullshit,” he grunts, turning away without explanation. Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Dear Trump #2. The perfect gift.

27545226_1517543381692953_9067731188216851540_nBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

There has been a small, weekly vigil happening across from Isaac’s school for a year now. It started when a young girl told a social worker at school she was afraid of her friends and family being deported. When the social worker asked her if there was anyway that we could support her family, the little girl said she would feel better if ICE could see that people cared. So, this small vigil is one attempt at that- to publicly say to ICE that we stand with our neighbors and that we are paying attention. There is a commitment to keep standing in solidarity until there is a justice immigration policy in place and children can live without fear. Continue reading

A Letter from Open Door Community

open door.jpgJune 2016

Dear Friends,

This is a letter we never thought we would have to write, and it’s breaking our hearts.

We have come to a time that the Open Door Community cannot move forward in the way that we have lived and worked for the past 35 years. While we plan to continue some parts of our ministry including our newspaper, Hospitality, we anticipate that in January 2017 our house at 910 Ponce de Leon Avenue, the location of our residential community and hub of our ministry, will close. The building will close; some of the ministry will continue. There are three primary reasons for this change. Continue reading

Community Counteracts the Seduction of Cynicism

From Lydia Wylie-Kellermann of Word & World and Jeanie Wylie Community in Detroit:

Cynicism seems an easy road these days. From my own porch, I watch the house across the street burn just days after US bank told us they had no intention to ever sell. On the corner a fifteen year old girl was shot and killed. At the Catholic Worker, I spend more time answering phone calls and turning down desperate pleas for a place to stay that night. In Detroit, democracy slips away as the city is taken over by corporate interests. Wars continue endlessly with no end in sight and growing rumors of more to come. Not to mention the political climate, the environmental climate, the continuing racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia around us. We all have an ever growing list. It is all too Continue reading