“Are you Crazy? You are taking my daughter and grandchildren halfway across this country into God knows what. It could be a cult. It..it could be like that..that..oh what's his name's cult? You know where they all ended up killing themselves.”
“Ma listen, we aren't going to some cult or hippie commune, or anything like that.”
“Jim Jones, that's his name.”
“Ma it ain't like that.”
“Why do you have to go off so far chasing Jesus?
“We aren't chasing Jesus, ma. We have Jesus right here in our hearts. He is our passion and our life. We are, if you want to use your phrase, chasing community. “
Yes, we were jumping in with both feet; it was the middle of winter and we were running on faith. But, our faith tank was full and we were chasing, as my mother-in-law stated, “community”.
My wife and I along with our four children headed out and stayed with a religious community for six weeks and upon return to Oklahoma shared our experience with my mother-in-law.
“We're back. Hello Ma.”
“Oh how happy I am to see you, you all look tired.”
“Yes we are, and you were right about going off to this strange place.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, they had some strange ideas. First of all, they lived in this secluded area of Pennsylvania on several hundred acres. They grew there own food, had there own doctor and school. They made equipment for disabled people and from scratch made solid maple toys to sell to support their community. No one was paid for working. All the money they earned went to support the whole community. No one had money. When they came there they had to commit to selling everything and give their things to help others.”
“Well son, ya know in the book of Acts when the Church was first formed it says, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all men as every man had need. “ Acts 2:42-43 ( KJV) and also it said, “Neither said any of them that any of the things they possessed was his own, but they had all things common.......neither was there any among them that lacked...distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Acts 4:34-35 (KJV)
“Yes I get it mom. But no money! You think they would have minded sharing everything.”
“ Yes I know honey, “ said my wife, “ but when I worked in the kitchen all the women would talk about was how they enjoyed serving others.”
“Get this mom, all 300 of them ate most of their meals together. And, before the meal and after the blessings, they would sing songs. Even when we visited some in their homes they would sing songs before the meal.”
“Well maybe they wanted to let their children know, as well as God, how thankful they were for their food,” said my mother-in-law. “What type of activities did they do with their children?”
“Well they didn't have televisions, they would make skis and go skiing, take them ice skating and play ball games or other activities. Oh, and on Sundays, they spent time with only “their “ family. No one was allowed to interfere with that time.
“They also had a strange custom of letting a new mother bond with her child for six weeks in the “Baby house.” She and her husband would stay there and have meals brought to them. Their other children were taken care of by friends or family. And get this, every evening others would come and sing to them outside of their apartment. After the six weeks, they would return to their normal duties.
“How did they get along?”
“I guess this was the biggest difference from modern day Christians, they would not allow any disagreement or argument to go unresolved. If it wasn't, others were brought in. It got resolved. I guess that is why they were able to stay together as a community the past 60 years”
“Well son, all I can say is the next time you want to jump off the deep end and chase community, TAKE ME.”
“Ya know what ma, I think I don't need to chase community anymore. I get it!”
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