The Atlantic ran a nice story about a income-sharing commune in Washington DC which resembles the Lotus House, at least superficially.

The 5-minute video story is here: “The Pros and Cons of Living in an Income Sharing Community.” 

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Unlike the Compersia Communune, we do not practice full income sharing (or “common purse” as it’s usually called in Christian community circles). Many communities, such as our sister community Reba Place Fellowship, do. Like Compersia, however, we seek to witness a better way of life grounded in hospitality, friendship, and cooperation.

The biggest difference between a commune like this and a Christian community like ours is the commitment to the gospel. The woman in the video says that the people in the commune are bound by a “common love” – they love the idea of radical egalitarian community. A shared vision is an important part of any kind of community life, but there is a great danger in loving the idea of community, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed many years ago. True community, he says, can only come from love for one another. The economic and institutional structure of our common life is merely a means of loving and caring for one another more effectively in our daily lives. We believe that we love each other best when we rest secure in the knowledge of God’s love for us. As beloved children, always accepted, always forgiven, we are free to love each other in the same sort of way. There’s a song that we sing together when we have important meetings or retreats which sums this up:

A common love for each other
A common gift to the Savior
A common bond holding us to the Lord

A common strength when we are weary
A common hope for tomorrow
A common joy in the truth of God’s word

The DC commune seems to offer a deeper life to its members, and insofar as it continues to do so it shares in the love of Christ, the author of all life. But any endeavor built on a economic theory, a political ideology, or a theological concept is bound to fail – love alone can save us.

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