Of course, yes, I know there is no perfect community- until Jesus returns. BUT I’m probably a bit of a strange one and JUST CANNOT seem to find a real community (or church for that matter) out there that even remotely fits the mold of what I’m looking to surround my family with at this phase in life.
There just seems to be a SEA of information online, but I think what I’m looking for is truly a needle in the stack (if it indeed exists at all). In desperation from search overload, I come before you oh most centralized source of Christian discussion. If such a community exists (or even close to it in my core values), please let me know.
In the meantime, my search continues as follows…
1) Conservative Mennonites…but not?
I thought I had finally found my place in the world, when I came across some Mennonite couples on Youtube recently, in which women sported not so much the tiny bonnet tight hair look, but more so a modestly sized (femininely beautiful) vale on the back of their head. The men, in like manner, didn’t appear to be sporting a 3-piece suit for their daily business meeting with Jesus type look, but more so respectfully decent and comfortable attire. The more I read and saw and heard…the more I was like…“you’s my people…I found my people!”
But, alas, I then read deeper and found…uh, they actually wouldn’t want to be my people. Here’s the thing, I’m a two-time divorcee, with two re-marriages on top. Granted both previous marriages were ended due to circumstances that certainly DO fit into what many conservative Mennonites rather un-affectionately refer to as the Matt 19:9 “exception clause” (as I’ve historically been that guy who makes the mistake of trying to rescue those damsels in distress and having that heart to bring every broken wing birdie home with me so I can fix them and make them whole…only to have them later turn out to be rather viscous birds of prey that seek to devour my very substance!..I digress), but I’ve found that most conservative Mennonites don’t even except THAT as grounds allowable for divorce (much less remarriage).
And when I do find Mennonites that are open to such grounds for divorce and remarriage…they’ve also gone to the extreme of LBGQlmnop and perhaps resemble more an aboriginal culture in modesty of dress than say a classical Christian one. There has GOT to be a group of Mennonites (or at least Christians who hold similar lifestyles as they do), who make loving/Scripturally sound exceptions to such divorce/remarriage scenarios AND have not also dove off the deep end of our currently trending social norms. That’s my hope anyway. Independent Baptists perhaps?
Summary: where are Mennonite like Christians (even if not called by such a name) who do not shun “exception clause” divorce/remarriage, allow women to still be lovely (femininely beautiful in appearance/adornment) while responsibly modest in dress (as well as respect of head covering concept), allow men to dress comfortably but respectably decently masculine (T-Shirt not a sin), and don’t shun technology entirely. I love everything else I could find about this group. Independent Baptist churches tend to be on the same page as well, but the remarriage topic seems hit or miss per church.
2) “Cussin” Christians- not tolerated.
I just don’t get it. SO MANY Christians seem to use profanity and even disrespectful slurs toward God in their daily lives. I don’t get it, but I definitely know I don’t want my wife and daughters around it (especially not among other followers of Christ who may more easily influence them toward speaking the same).
3) Natural/Organic (Heirloom) diet.
This is another big one for me. Nothing turns me off more (besides perhaps concepts embodied in item 1-2 above) than bringing my family to a church (or intentional community) only to find each and every fellowship gathering we attend is filled with processed, GMO, artificial, pharma experimental objects sold in mass as “food” and my children then feel the need to insert into their mouth. It soon becomes, healthy diet at home and unhealthy diet at church. Not a good association and I’d like to avoid such conflicts.
Would like a community that is dedicated to “clean” or healthy organic diet. Care should also be taken to avoid toxic building/gardening materials as well. Natural healthy lifestyles should be respected.
I’m also going to include in this category, the community needs to support members who do not wish to vaccinate (especially related to the more recent CV–19 related injections).
4) Self-Sufficient Intentional Community.
I know the Hutterites have mastered this concept, but I’m more looking for a bit less rigid approach and not necessarily 100% communal living (0% property ownership)…though I think I would be content in such a community if they waive the straw hat requirement. All kidding aside, would like to be in a community producing our own energy (such as solar, wind, or other off-the-grid solutions) and growing our own food and preparing in every other way practical to have 0 dependency on city/societal infrastructure, while still maintaining a low key visibility in the surrounding community.
5) Worldly Music/Social Media/Internet/TV/Movies and other sources of entertainment highly discouraged, but not completely forbidden.
I’ve already distanced myself from “secular” music long ago, but will admit I still find myself dabbling in other forms of entertainment I’d rather not (PG-13 and such), from time to time. I long to be among people who fill their time with other meaningful pursuits in life, so my family can make our transition to the other side of the spectrum (even if radically so, I find it better to err on the side of holiness, than walking the fence of wicked influences on our hearts). If they pretty much did completely ban most of these things in a community…I’d probably still be on for the ride. Too much of the entertainment today is so desensitizing and manipulative of our hearts/minds toward things unhealthy in life…I would not expect a community to outright ban such entertainment (though I would like something closer to that), but I wouldn’t see it as a terrible thing if they did.
6) Midwifery, Female Physicians, and Homeschooling.
I have all girls in my family (except myself of course). In the spirit of caring for the modesty so cherished in item 1 above, if at all reasonably possible I would like to be in a community that supports women in utilizing midwives and female physicians for feminine needs. Women utilizing males for such needs I would like specifically discouraged, outside of extreme medical necessity and so forth.
It would also be ideal if the community worked together in homeschooling children within. Such children being sent to public schools or secular private schools would seem to take away from the point of forming such a community in the first place I would think.
7) Pacifist at heart…maybe not in practice!
I’ve always agreed (at least since putting faith in Christ) with so much of what Mennonites believe regarding being a pacifist. On Biblical paper and in a spirit of walking by Faith…it just makes sense. Christians should not be going around killing people just because some corrupt politicians set up conditions conducive to doing so and social pressure. It can be easily argued, from Jesus’ own teaching, that we should actually being doing the opposite. Yes, agree.
Buuut…if some group of men break into my cabin, with the clear intention of raping/murdering my wife and daughters…those men’s life expectancy will greatly depend on the efficiency of my aim and my pulling of the trigger (semi-auto). When it comes down to it, we get out of bed in the morning and dress ourselves for work…as nice as it would be to think God intervenes in every single moment of our lives to put our pants on for us by faith and so forth, but my reality has been that such “interventions” by God are not every moment and are not at the whim of our every single prayer.
Sometime, the reality is, no angel is showing up to stop you from sacrificing those men who are there to harm your family. If those angels do in fact show up, then praise God, no men had to die tonight…but, in the meantime, like Abraham ready to plunge that blade into his son Isaac- so much more will I be pulling that trigger to save my wife and daughters from immediate harm. And yes I know such arguments could be extended to protecting one’s home, town, city, state, county, and so forth.
It’s a difficult area of conviction, but I’m currently at a place of pacifist but don’t think I could prevent myself from protecting my family at home. Maybe that’s a lack of faith or courage, but I can’t see myself waiting and watching to find out (given the grave consequences involved) if I have the power not to. I’ve been given no such specific promise from God that He would save them in such a situation, so here I stand.
All that said, I’m 99% pacifist and prefer the community have that heart as well…but I will be ready to protect my family, if truly cornered with no escape, using deadly force if absolutely needed (1%). For this reason, the concept of self-defense training should not be forbidden (nor the tools for doing so), but I’m not interested in being a part of a militia centric community either.
8) Not so fearful of “contemporary” instruments/styles of worship.
I have to admit, while I’m not one that has a special place in my heart for some of the traditional hymns often heard in say “conservative” Baptist churches…I’m kind warming up to some of those acappella hits I hear Mennonites jamming to (vocals only). But, perhaps this is just something that still needs to be sanctified out of me, I still have a place in my heart for worship more along the lines of a Hillsong genre (minus the scandals, with adultery and other worldly pleasures/abuses associated with that ministry these days…as I’m more so just referring to the sound and heart of worship involved). This one is optional for me. I can find meaningful worship in classical hymns if that means items 1-7 above are there and this one is non-negotiable in the community.
As a final note, I would prefer to avoid a community in which certain styles of worship are forced. I’m definitely more of a quiet spirited worshiper and don’t really flow well with coach/military command style worship, pushing on my head and telling me to fall down until my back is arched 90 degrees and I have no choice but fall down…I think you get the picture. Humble worshipers are my vibe.
9) Smokin Saints.
And no I’m not talking about physical attractiveness. SO many Christians seem to be addicted to tobacco or vaping or drinking alcohol or prescription drugs. I’d like to be in a community in which such habits are discouraged, unless you have a really good reason for doing so or it is on rare/special occasions only (as well as never in excess). It just feels like many of us are mastered by our flesh in these areas, rather than practicing mastery of our flesh, when such things are just casual habits in our lives. This is not one of those areas I like to come down too hard on, but would feel better if it was a community that did not casually accept these things as normal in a persons life.
10) English please.
I find the KJV of the Bible sort of like one step further than reading a Latin Bible (in as much as ease of comprehension rather than requiring higher education). Don’t get me wrong, it’s my favorite version to quote if I want to convey the beauty of that language…but it is Old English and quite difficult for the average modern reader to digest. I’m of the view that only the original manuscripts (Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek) were the inspired texts I give the greatest weight to as foundations for source of Truth.
There have been MANY translations into HUNDREDS of languages. To claim this one King’s English edition was such a special translation (only to English speakers mind you) has always seemed a bit far fetched to me. I try to get as close to the source (original manuscripts via Concordance and other such tools) when I truly wish to study the Bible. All other translations, since that time, are simply tools to assist in my viewing of the Holy Text (the original manuscripts), BUT are NOT THE source of Truth documents (including KJV). Such is my current perspective anyway.
With that in mind, I would appreciate a community that does not forbid the use of other tools for studying scripture (including other translations, beside the KJV). I can live with just a KJV if I had to, but would be nice to not be limited as such.
If ANY of you know of such a community of believers out there (even if they only match a handful of these 10 dream scenarios), preferably that I could physically relocate to with my family (such as an Intentional Neighbors or IC type of setup in a strategically located area of the mountains or at least well outside the confines of modern cities/culture)…please let me know. If you’re only aware of churches that meet this criteria, I’ll take that too as a great starting place.