by Ron Cook
” A culture that encourages us to spend money we don’t have, on stuff we don’t need, in order to impress people we can’t stand.” (Utopia for Realists – Robert Bergman)
Utopia was coined by Sir Thomas More in the 1500s. This was a book of satire that More wrote to criticize his current world government, economics and inter-human relationships. Sir Thomas’s facetious suggestion that on this island country named Utopia there would be no money, no work, and it would be set up like a monastery where all people live together and share everything equally. This, of course, was a human-interest desire for centuries, but not a realistic goal for the practical world of government, money, greed and borders. Even the word Utopia is a satire from the Greek and Latin meaning, “no place.” This work also led to the creation of another word, dystopia, which means a failed attempt at a perfect Society.
The author of the Utopia for Realists book offers another suggestion for a perfect society which includes: a 15-hour work week, open borders to all countries, no private ownership of property and a universal minimum income. As history has shown, none of these ideas have really worked well or even completely been put in place. Capitalism, communism, socialism, monarchies, dictatorships, and any other sort of government that we have created on this planet, have been an utter failure in human fairness… the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is struggling to survive.
But … What if there does exist today, on this planet, a utopian-like Society? A place where people truly loved and cared for each other. A place where all shared possessions equally. A place where there are no rich, and there are no poor. Perhaps that sounds crazy and unattainable, but I have been living in exactly that place for the last 7 weeks. This society has been in existence for over 50 years now. There are over 100 residences throughout the United States and the world where these societies are thriving.
This is the life I have been looking for. There are 31 members in the community in which I am living. Married couples and their children, single Brothers, single sisters, and guests from time to time. We share all things in common including chores, preparing food, running the cafe in town which supplements our income, and maintaining our homes. Our days begin with song and dance and a teaching. We eat breakfast together, families with families. Some go to work in our Cafe, while others do household chores or maintain what needs to be done to run the community. We have Farms throughout the world, and are growing most of our own food now. We eat healthy, nutritious meals, and celebrate at least one day together on our Sabbath with fun and games and recreational activities. I understand there are over 4,000 members of this society throughout the world. Our days end with song and dance, and teaching, then supper. Parents put their children to bed, and single people read, write, or finish any duties or chores.
The Bible speaks of this life many times in the New Testament including:
Matthew 19 verses 16 to 30,
Matthew 6 verses 19 to 21,
Mark 10 verses 17 through 30,
Luke 12 verses 33 to 34,
Acts 2 verses 44 through 45,
Acts 4 verse 32, and 34 through 35,
John 13 verse 29.
The early church or group of Apostles and disciples who lived together, were not called a church, they were called The Way. There is something like 52,000 denominations of churches in the world, but only one society in which the gospel is truly lived out. History, governments, societies, philosophies of life have not produced the kind of life we could and should be living. As you have probably heard many times, no matter how rich you are you can’t take it with you. So, what are you going to do with your riches? What are you going to do with your life? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a community in which people truly cared for each other, and loved each other, supported each other, and did things in common, and with their families?
That has been my lifetime Quest and, as we talked about last month, the whole concept at any age, but especially at my age, of having purpose, finding Community, having spirituality and getting support, are all answered now, for me, in this community.
This has been my answer. It has seemed to answer all my questions, taking away all my worries, and offered me safety, love and security that I have never known. There are many communities throughout the United States that you could look into, visit, read about or join… but that’s all your own Journey.
I am encouraging the fellowship to look into a community in Louisiana because, as you know, I truly love Louisiana and its people.