Experimenting (again) with Intentional Living

I've nattered on before about my project to bring New Zealand's Anglican Order of St. Stephen to the US, and in some ways today is the day that the (six months on a leaky) boat sails into port. Actually maybe today is the day that I sail into port, because I'm sitting down to hammer out the structure of my own Rule of Life in the movement towards becoming one of the first US members of the Order. I'm committing to live, for a time, in pursuit of a structured life characterized by the Order principles of Prayer, Community, and Service, and I'm trying to sort out the rules I'm going to follow to achieve that aim. I'm writing my own little guidebook for personal spiritual discipline, which everyone in the Order does at some point.

Angel and I spoke about intentional living and intentional community on the way to Port Townsend a few days ago, and we both have some reservations--mainly surrounding the inherent potential for utopian fantasticism, and the apparent connection with college-age naive idealism. We both tried out Evangelical forms of intentional community and living during our college careers (though we didn't identify them with that language at the time), and both came away with our legs between our tails--disillusioned and embarrased by the experience. I personally tainted several forms of spiritual discipline for myself by becoming too legalistic and not incorporating a healthy level of humor and cynicism into my 'pursuit of God', and in some ways lost faith in the disciplines when I lost faith in the theological system.

What I've realized recently though is that I'm not looking for the same God today that I was in those days, and that it's time to give a structured spiritual life a go again. This time, I'm hoping that it will be more fun. It will definitely be more free, b/c rather than trying to force myself to squeeze into a spiritual mold determined by an amorphous 'somebody else', I'm looking at the things I've found to be personally enriching, and trying to intentionally do those. How very postmodern. Intentional communities (and monastic movements) appear at moments in history and life when transformation seems both necessary and possible, and I think that is what this is about. I think the Order of St. Stephen is about intentionally engaging with ourselves, our communities and our churches in order to facilitate and be a part of change at each of those levels.

I'll be making it a point to chronicle (hopefully not too self-seriously) my experiences here, for your edification and/or entertainment.


Eliacin said…
You are a brave soul crafting a rule of life.
We need to get together for coffee. I think we were suppose to do it this past monday.

When is good for you next week?

Tim Mathis said…
Thanks Eliacin, I sent you an email re: getting together.

I'd feel much braver if I were writing a Rule of Life that others would be expected to follow. As it is, it's only myself that I can screw up if I'm off base :)

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