Last week at tutoring, my friend Courtney asked me why I live in community. She told me she had read our blog, and could see the things we’re doing in community, but didn’t see on here why we live like this. I thought this was a valid observation that needed to be addressed. Back in December when we celebrated our 5th anniversary of Lotus house living, we made big posters with pictures, memories, and reflections. I had asked all the members, former and present, to answer that same question: Why do/did you live in community? Here are some answers:

Micah (Dec 2008-October 2009; Summer 2010-Summer 2011)

I chose community because it felt like a meaningful thing to do with my life and there was a lot of momentum going that direction with all of us. I was seeking closer friendship but also deeper and genuine experiences that connected to my expanding view of the world and of the gospel at the time.

Stephen (Summer 2013-present)

I had been interested in life in community for a long time. I read a few books when I was in college that pushed me to consider living intentionally with other Christians. I never got over that desire. Over the years I was a part of a couple different efforts to create and sustain Christian community in different places. I first heard about the Lotus House when my friends Alex, Jordan, and Alexis moved in. I had a chance to visit Lotus a few times and even stayed the night in January 2012. When I knew that I was accepting an offer of admission to Saint Louis University I immediately thought about my friends at the Lotus House. I emailed them and, as it turns out, Aaron was just in the process of moving out. I am so grateful that after a discernment meeting I was invited to join life with this community!

Aaron (June 2012-June 2013):

I inquired about joining the community at Lotus House when the priest and family I lived with told me they were moving to Illinois. While it was understood that I would only live in the community for about a year or so until I finished my studies (or got married, as the case turned out), I was drawn by the opportunity to share daily life with others, through meals, work, prayer, and play. This life shared with others is one of the answers to God’s injunction, “it is not good for humans to be alone.” During my sojourn, I received encouragement and support and also felt like I was needed and had a role to fill. It was also a place where my relationship with Ursula was able to flourish. At times, Lotus House was the catalyst for conversations we had about life shared with others, conversations that would ultimately become about family and the life we now share.

Alexis (March 2011-June 2012)

 Jordan and I wanted to live in community to transform not just a neighborhood around us but our very hearts.  I believe that it’s only when we are pushed to the point of agitation, annoyance, sacrifice, and called out on our sinful habits, that we change who we are.  And community allows our character be seen as though it were a chaotic gallery of moods, mistakes, and successes on daily display.  In community, the proximity and interconnectedness with other people’s lives does not afford us the abillty to run away or put on a good show.  It is easier to see the truth of who we are.  We give others permission to poke the areas that are ugly, but also to highlight the gifts that we have.  Community is acceptance and challenge.  It is more real than any group or club the world has to offer because the individuals around you are constant partners in prayer, coworkers in peace and justice, messengers of the love of Jesus, and friends.  

David Janzen said, “Intentional Christian Community does not make us holier than anyone else – it is just a way to live the life of Jesus with more intensity and devotion than we could manage by ourselves.”  He later adds, “Without community virtues usually do not happen, and with community, there is help.”  The time I spent in the Lotus House was help, indeed.  Help to realize my selfishness and to cultivate charity, to see my slothfulness and cultivate discipline, to point out gluttony and exchange it for temperance, and target greed and materialism for justice and simplicity.  And though I have not arrived, the time at Lotus taught me lessons about myself and the journey we walk together as a Church.  Thank you Lotus House for your loving endurance, for showing me the beauty of a garden, chickens, adoption, hymns sung together, and life connected.  May peace be with you.
Alden (Dec 2008-present)
I chose to live in community because I wanted to share everyday life with others,whom I hoped I could one day call friends. I wanted to belong to a place and a people. After five years, I realize that community is no longer just something I want, but something I need. I am grateful for all those who have enriched my life so much in the past few years and also for those who are to come.
Jordan (March 2011-June 2012)
God happens in community, and particularly in a community as loving and faithful as the Lotus House folks. It was a profound blessing in our lives.”
Jeremy (January 2013-August 2013):
I wanted to live in community because of my studies at ozark, reading a few influential books, and mostly having some conversations with a few really awesome people (like Alex, my friend Jeremiah, a man I met at Cornerstone Music festival named Tim, and to a certain extent Shane Wood). Something really important that happened in my thought process was finally having real people and experiences to put with a calling I had only really conceptualized until I came.
Candace (Dec 2008-present)
I chose to live in community because I wanted to practice radical hospitality with other Christians, and to try to be a light in North St. Louis. Also, I wanted to be challenged daily to be more like Jesus. Living in  community has made me face the reality of where I am, but also to give me hope of God shaping me to become more patient, loving, and understanding. I am especially grateful for the community’s support of our adoption. I don’t think it would have been possible for our family without the tremendous help of everyone at the Lotus House.
Daniel (Dec 2008-present)
I moved into community with a vague notion for living a different way of life. What kept me in community was the development of deeply personal relationships with other people that helped me better understand who I was. In being encouraged to more fully be and appreciate myself, I have found a depth of patience and stability that has allowed me to more fully serve others. What I have found in community is a reflection of the body of Christ, and an unique expression of all of the different parts and people that make a up a beautiful mosaic.
Thirza (Feb. 2012-present)
Since my first church retreat and after every mission/service trip and retreat   since then, I have wondered how awesome it would be if ‘this’ were not just a weekend or week or month, but a life, a way of living–  To live in Christian community, to have God-talk at breakfast, to serve God’s people together, to be annoyed by housemates but love them anyway and to be loved anyway…  T Rex and I are blessed to be at home now @ the Lotus House.
As you can see, there are a variety of reasons that drew each one of us here. But, I think for all of us, our experience here has drawn us closer to each other and closer to God.