Finally what keeps most people away from human relief and development work is the overwhelming magnitude of the problem. It is hard to know what we can do. And, frankly, it feels very serious, almost like we can’t enjoy life if we do it.

What if the opposite were true? What if we couldn’t enjoy life unless we are doing it? In other words, what if mission work is not a cosmic kill-joy? What if it actually is great fun, great community, great adventure? What if we forgot we were doing mission?

Of course there comes a time in any mission that the weight of the poverty and the physical strains take their toll. But there is also something luring about the whole thing, giving life meaning and bringing people together in very unusual ways.

What if mission is actually the great community developer of the future? What if the loads of young adults not sure what to do with life could somehow engage with and belong to a mission community (sort of like a monastic order of sorts)?

It may sound idealic to think of a communal sort of living situation (similar maybe to hotels) but why not? What is stopping us from really pursuing such a living situation? They exist in so many other parts of the world as realities.

Now, of course, those who actually do live in such mission communities would be the first to tell you of the enormous challenge. It is not an “easy” way or an “escape” sort of life. It is a commitment to sharing, giving, living with others in mind.

Americans are absolutely scared of that. We love our privacy. We love our freedom to do what we want when we want. Those certainly are not bad things. But are they that good? Is the return on those ends that great? Look around.

It seems younger Americans particularly are ready for a new sort of life. They are tired of chasing a dream that may not exist, and if it does may not be that worth it. They want more. There is so much more, just outside of our grasps.

Who will brave enough to try? Of course there are intentional communities throughout the states already, many doing very interesting things with the arts and social action. Most under the radar. Most not hip, sexy, or cool.

That’s the hard sell. At the end of the day, community, like actually making a life out of the arts, is not all that fun. It takes hard work, intentionality, long nights, lousy sleeping situations, and so forth to make dreams happen, who really wants that?

But what is the alternative? What are our other options? In this current culture we have only to try, to see what can become of our ideas. They may translate, they may eventually sort of pay for themselves, but they may not.

This is not for the faint-hearted. This is exclusively for those who refuse to barter with social systems that counter their ideals. It’s for those who care too much, who love all but must make hard choices now for a future world that is worth all the sacrifices!  

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