Though we have gained much through trial and error, most of what we do best we learned from other people. We tend to be a rather bookish lot, and we got our start by reading about other people living intentionally. Eventually, we got smarter and realized we needed to be talking to real people, so we began visiting other communities and getting involved in larger networks of communities. Below you’ll find some of the resources which have been most influential for us.
Books that have inspired us:
Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne
The Intentional Christian Community Handbook by David Janzen
12 Marks of the New Monasticism by members of Rutba House
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Rule of St. Benedict by Benedict of Nursia
Real Hope in Chicago by Wayne Gordon
The Challenge of the Disciplined Life by Richard Foster
Mere Discipleship by Lee Camp
Community and Growth by Jean Vanier
Dorothy Day: Selected Writings edited by Robert Ellsberg
The Book of Common Prayer. Our morning and evening prayers are based on the BCP, the standard English Christian prayer book produced during the English Reformation. The BCP was heavily influenced by Benedictine spirituality, and Thomas Cranmer, the book’s original editor modified the monastic daily prayers so that ordinary people could participate in the liturgy in their own homes. He and other Reformers aimed at a “monasticism of all believers.”
Simply in Season by Cathleen Hockman-Wert and Mary Beth Lind. This cookbook has taught us to eat more simply and more locally. It’s arranged by the four seasons, so that recipes use fruits and vegetable that are available at that time of the year. We haven’t prepared every recipe in the book, but we’ve made nearly three-quarters of them.
Communities that have formed us:
Reba Place Fellowship (Evanston, IL)
Rutba House (Durham, NC)
Communality (Lexington, KY)
Church of the Sojourners (San Francisco, CA)
Saint Louis Abbey (St. Louis, MO)
Karen House (St. Louis, MO)
A helpful web resource for intentional Christian community is ModelingIntentionalCommunity.org
The Lotus House belongs to some larger networks of communities, including Shalom Mission Communities an association of six Anabaptist-inspired intentional communities with shared convictions and practices, and the Nurturing Communities Project, a larger network of communities overseen by SMC. The Nurturing Communities Project hosts an annual meeting which gathers community leaders from across North America to encourage one another, worship together, discuss challenges of common life, and envision what life in community could be.