A group of people walk the talk by combining their activist ideals with conscious living in intentional communities. The Chicago Network of Intentional Communities (NIC) gathered for a delicious potluck recently and to discuss the process to become a community member. Having considerable experience, the panel shared their wisdom on how they evaluate prospective housemates.
The generally accepted process is to join the community for a potluck and, if there is sufficient interest, proceed with a formal application and interview. Several use key questions that are designed to get to the heart of how it would be to live with a prospective house mate. For example, “How have you handled conflict in the past?” provides an important clue as to a candidate’s ownership of past conflicts and their willingness to engage in resolution.
The Fellowship for Intentional Communities website and quarterly magazine lists a worldwide directory of intentional communities as well as articles and helpful information about this lifestyle. Some, but not all, of these communities are Christian. Others coalesce around the principle of social justice, and the common interest of the HUB co-op is bicycles. These are a few of the Chicago area intentional communities and their stated mission if known.
- The stated mission of the Stone Soup Ashland House is social justice and joy.
- The stated mission of the Stone Soup Leland House is social justice and human rights
- Stone Soup Hoyne House is on the south side
- The Waterside Co-op “was created to provide a supportive, positive, and nurturing home to environmental activists working in our neighborhood.”
- Qumbya Co-op consists of three separate houses in Chicago’s Hyde Park Neighborhood.
- The MOSAIC Co-op in Evanston consists primarily, but not exclusively, of students.
As a Chicago resident and public transportation commuter, seeing a group of people living with others in a deeply respectful way is more than a welcome breath of fresh air: it is proof positive that this is not rocket science−it is a practice.