Thursday, May 23, 2013

No More Mulberry House

Posted by Jack

Today we bury the Mulberry House. With warmest regards and fondest memories, we lay the house to rest.

Ok, fine. Nobody died. We're all here and accounted for. I just needed an eye-catching opening to get your attention.

Sorry. Maybe that wasn't fair. In my defense, it is true that the Mulberry House you once knew no longer exists. Let me explain.

See, a funny thing happened on the way to intentional community...

We formed the Mulberry House and that went pretty well. Over the past 4-5 years or so, our community activities and values brought us into contact with wonderful friends and neighbors throughout Springfield and the surrounding area. The formation of these valuable friendships slowly and steadily expanded the scope of our community.

Our group got a little bigger. We continued eating together and praying together and meeting once a week for Bible study. We also planted gardens together and helped each other with various projects.

Our lives started getting tangled together in many ways, but there was still a bizarre distinction. Some of us were "Mulberry House" and some of us weren't.

All of us had been taking part in the lifestyle, but only some of us had a name for it (and a website). The sense of community transcended any one house.

All of us, this tangled mass of intersecting lives, held a meeting: The Mulberry Street Conclave, we called it. We discussed our life together and acknowledged our commitment to one another. The Thing began to take shape.

We decided to do what most of us had set out to do in the first place. Rather than limiting our "brand" to one house with a given name, we decided to acknowledge the community at large. Call it the next step in the natural outworking of our mutual convictions.

The time had come. We peeled the label from the front of the Mulberry House and put up a "City Limits" sign instead.

Our new truth agreed upon includes a loose network of households... a village within a village... a motley assortment of individuals bound up together in Kingdom values. At the risk of bandying about hip Christian buzz-words, you might call us an "intentional community."

I assure you, the house at 125 W Mulberry Street still stands. And, nearly 5 years later, it still stands for the same things. But this house is just one part of a larger thing

We are not just on Mulberry Street. We are on South Center, and South Fountain, and Euclid, and some road out by the mall. And also Fairborn, and Columbus, and occasionally Yellow Springs.

Now we are Daniel and Mikal and Leah and Carla and Vicki and Tim and other Tim and Julia and Andrea and Carlos and Phil and Jack and Megan and Kathy and Brenna and Jess and other Jess and Zach and Rachel and other Rachel and other Rachel and others I'm sure I forgot to name (probably another Rachel).

The point is, even though we talked about it an awful lot, I don't think we ever really set out to form a house. We set out to form a body. And we're still doing that.

In reference to the Thing that once was, we're calling ourselves the Mulberry Street Community. We don't have business cards or anything, so don't ask. But we do have each other, and this ancient and oft-duplicated, new and refreshing tradition of structured, organic, ordered, chaotic, profound and mundane, larger-than-life but less-than-impressive existence. Let's call it community, I guess.

I couldn't fit that on a bumper sticker.

Followers