After a long and relaxing summer holiday we are back to learning what life can be for us at the Lunesdale Community. We are still just our family of four, but butterflies flutter in my stomach when I think of the everyday adventure of life ahead this autumn and winter. I have more time to invest in this community project because I’ve reduced my working hours, Andy has big ideas about the direction his work should take in the future and the children are still finding their way in the complicated world of school, hobbies and friendships. We carry on praying together and looking after the house. Everything is well set up for a larger residential community, and we really hope that some people would move in with us soon.
On holiday I read a bit on Anthony de Mello’s thoughts in his book of meditations, The Way to Love. They touched on what has been welling up in me during the process of a change of life while setting up the Lunesdale Community.
There is a kind of freedom which enables us to see what is true and what is ultimately important. In the Bible, the psalmist writes (119:45) about the freedom which we can find when we trust and hope in God. This freedom is the opposite of slavery to lies, and when we search for wisdom we learn to use our freedom well.
What is often stopping people from breaking free from situations that enslave them or bind them is the need to conform. This comes into housing, education, careers, children’s upbringing, consumption habits and many lifestyle choices including transport. It is as if only a few options which we are fed from birth are acceptable. We are told what is the minimum we must have to be happy or to be seen as successful, or even sane.
We are fed an image, and then we struggle to keep it and live up to it.
This is a lie on the level of the society, to keep the status quo in politics and in economic growth. In this harsh world of “Have”, inequality in its many forms must be maintained. The lie can be perpetuated in the culture which glorifies individualism and instant gratification. Behind individualism, I see a lot of fear. What if I someday become dependent on others? What will people think if I can’t manage without the help of others? What if I have to let someone close and compromise? What if I can’t have my own way? What if I have to give up some of the benefits I’ve managed to secure for myself? And then softly, somewhere deep inside, the question we want to silence: What if this is all there is? What a waste of a lifetime it would be to not see for real and chase after the wrong things.
Many people become blind or at least numb to the unchanging and uncompromising values of the Kingdom of God. These are the eternal things of God, such as justice, peace and love. But there are also a growing number of people who are reacting against the indifference through grass-roots organisations. For example, the City of Sanctuary movement is organising an event with asylum seekers at the Cohousing in Halton this Saturday, which I’m looking forward to attending.
I want to speak for an alternative, counter-cultural way of life. Yes, a whole way of life. This is a changing of the heart, searching for God’s wisdom, bringing about change through personal example and by joining efforts with others and making choices whenever possible to not enslave others. I sincerely hope that the Lunesdale Community will grow to be a place where all this is possible. If you are interested, do contact us, contribute to the blog or plan a visit! We’d love to hear from you.