Saturday, April 15, 2017

here it is

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fb post. i no longer still haven't found what i'm lookin for.

ha ah. i no longer still haven't found what i'm lookin for. this is it. plain and simple. i come upon it 14 hours after the entirely successful crowd funding has closed. but i shall dig deep on this, and find all ways i may contribute. and i'll let you know here on fb, a place i will always detest. and here: to the best of my delinquent ability. all love. i have found what i'm lookin for. an i ain't goin no place else. that's how i feel. tellin you. click n see. that is me.
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Saturday, January 9, 2016

this & that & WWOOF-like

1/9/16 8:35 AMsat  Well, not exactly every day, but more often than every other!  pretty good for undisciplined me. 
         extraneous things:  one can live here without ever buying groceries or eating out—there's 24/7 access to the left-overs' fridge, with excess from each of our meals.  after a week, each item goes to the "compost" buckets, which are fed to is it the chickens first, then the pigs? 
         there is no vegetarian cooking or preparation here done by vegetarians, except perhaps by the random assignment of a vegetarian as cook for the meals, which i have a feeling never happens, or maybe just for one rare day at a time (carnivorous cooks cook for weeks).  there is no smootsie-wootsie, better-than-the-finest-restaurant cooking here of any sort like is pervasive on The Farm (per my experience) (vegan/vegetarian).
         work here can be much like WWOOFing (WWOOF World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or Willing Workers on Organic Farms, is a loose network of national organizations that facilitate placement of volunteers on organic farms. Wikipedia), though it is not called that or listed so, so far as i can tell.  WWOOFing is available on The Farm, at ETC and Mark Hubbard & Company, but this fact is not posted on the front page of any posting or website of TF so far as i have seen; i.e. it is not a community feature, rather an individual effort or "company" feature within the community.  and The Farm and/or ETC and/or Mark Hubbard may or may not list themselves with the international WWOOFing system, i don't know; the ones i've known of have simply asked for it directly and have received it (or not, i guess, if there may be many requests i do therefore not know of).  here at Koinonia it is up front on website and everything: you can welcomely work here, or not (and retreat), as you wish.  
          at TF it is strongly recommended that you come and visit often, it is strongly discouraged that you come and make use of the myriad varied-priced accommodations without an agenda of what to do, and it is strongly recommended that you take part in one of the businesses offering intensive workshops of one manner or other, at whatever the cost—so you are well occupied while you are at The Farm.  from the beginning to the end, it can seem that TF wants every interaction to be commercial, at least for newcomers.
         granted, WWOOFing itself is a form of un-moneyed commerce.
         at TF those WWOOFing are most often residing and eating entirely alone.  if there are several, they may reside in company of each other.  the only members of the community they typically interact with are the ones they are working for.  and if one is there for a workshop program, again, one is closest to one's fellows in the program; residing together in hostel or campsites, or in room rental accommodations, one's choice; and one is not invited into any other residential or work areas without the chaperone of the program facilitator.  in this sense, it feels to me like a very internally private community, and perhaps not so interested in outreach or expansion as a community.
I'm kinda packing and wrapping up last-minute intentions.  grateful ole marty

Friday, January 8, 2016

righting riting

1/7/16 10:46 PMth  i want to say that both TF and KF seem fragile to me.  TF is much larger, though a 10th its heyday size, and most members are quite sure of its strength and continuance, though few seem to envision it very clearly past their own laying to rest.  There are long-time members looking at other alternatives for retirement residence, in case TF fails in some way, and/or increases dues to an impossible amount.  I personally have the sense that people could leave in the same kind of wave that they have perhaps arrived, leaving housing in a buyers' market, cheap, and dues sky high.  But I don't know enough to know.
         KF is fragile because it almost collapsed with its 1990's error of switching to a Non-Profit organization, with each individual more-or-less fending for themselves—Most members then left and have not come back.  Around 2007 it switched back to its original pooling of resources among full members of the community.  It has a very small number of full member/stewards with a kind of catch-22 that if they had more, they would attract more more easily.
         Now about writing.  I have come to deeply admire the profound amount of writing in both communities, every where you look.  at Koinonia, the late founder wrote much about the intentions of the community, as well as some history as he and it got older; and he translated the Gospel from the "original" Greek into Southern US setting, with a touch of authentic dialect and syntax, his Cotton Patch Gospel.  His solitary writing cabin remains as memorial, out amid cattle pasture, pecan orchard, and rambling forest.  Many other members have written much along the way about its history, intentions at each stage, including offshoots such as Habitat for Humanity and Jubilee Partners community.  These are typically enthusiastic, serious, deeply sourced studies of social experiment in spiritual witness.  Just like at The Farm, there are an abundance of these and other books in their shop and catalogue. 
         Here and now, in addition to my Hildegard of Bingen page at my room's door, I run into an Intern who trades poetry chapbooks with me, two stewards writing a book presenting the simple focused way of life they live here, and a third steward writing & delivering, to me, several exquisite meditations on scripture readings such as this one for Jan 3rd:
Just looking at the star flooded them with great happiness.

Imagine the great joy these travelers must have felt when they looked on the baby and his mother. They had come on a long journey, to a strange land. And they left without much knowledge of what they were seeking, or how they would find it.

They went to the wrong place for information. Even though the scholars knew from reading the prophets that a king would be born in Bethlehem (or Gainesville), they didn’t know where to find him, so the travelers were sent on their way to learn as much as they could.

And the signs in the heavens appeared again. They knew they were close. And then they found the baby. All we know is that they bowed down and honored him. We don’t know how this changed their lives. We do know that they were made happy at the sight of a star.

The same has been true for humans throughout the generations. The stars are mystery and beauty for us.
Psalm 8
1Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?c
5You have made themd a little lower than the angelse
and crowned themf with glory and honor.
6You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under theirg feet:
7all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Once, many years ago, I was asked to describe God. God for me, is the tree with lights in it. I had gone caving one night in West Virginia. We went all the way to the end of the cave and turned off our lights. It was complete darkness and silence. No stimulation for the senses at all. It was empty and terrifying. After sitting in silence for a while, we came out of the cave on a moonless night in the middle of a farmer’s field with no electric lights. The stars were lighting up the heavens in their vast array. And in the middle of the field was a huge oak tree. It was covered with fireflies. More beautiful than any sparkling Christmas tree you have ever seen. It took my breath away. I was filled with joy. I knew there was a God and that he promised goodness for all people.
When I told this story, the person who asked me to describe God was disappointed because he thought I would talk about a person since God became a man in Jesus and dwelt among us.
The travelers did pay homage to the baby Jesus. They were glad to meet him, but just looking at the star flooded them with great happiness.
Here at Koinonia we have all sorts of opportunities to look on the grandeur of God: a pecan tree, a sunset, a thunderstorm, and the faces of each member of the community.
Matthew tells the story of the travelers because he wants to emphasize that this baby was born for the salvation of all people. He didn’t come just for the chosen Jewish people. He was also the Savior of the people from the East.
Like the stars in the heavens that are so vast in number, Jesus comes to all of us. We experience him in different ways. We are all on a journey, seeking him. May we be flooded with great happiness at the coming of this baby Jesus into our lives.

written and delivered by
Elizabeth Dede
Koinonia Farm 
1324 GA Hwy 49 S Americus,GA 31719 

I really treasure the last section for its simple, clear, spunky writing.  Luckily I asked her for a hard copy for me to savor over the words, right away after her delivery.  She sent it to me as a MW.doc attachment, answering my question in the e-mail text, "I wrote it for Sunday worship. I don't have a larger collection of writings. I tend not to save what I write."
         Tonite after dinner all who wanted stayed for 2 rounds of a game that combines pictionary with telephone, alternating writing and drawing, all the way around the circle.  it's a hoot.  i'm keeping both of the resultant little books that came back to me from my starting line.  collaboratively evolved story in community.
[i think the wi-fi available for visitors here can be as troublesome as that at The Farm.  it's taken me over an hour just to post this (if indeed it posts.  (9:40am in Georgia))]

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

new somewhere

1/5/16 5:11 PMtu         Picking up on a couple days ago's entry, I am finding it very welcoming here at Koinonia Farms as a visitor/newcomer, whatever capacity of being here for the first time.  The community is built around being there for anyone interested, for whatever reasons.  In living a life of radical (not fundamentalist) Christian community AND as a "demonstration plot" of the Kingdom of God, for anyone to see.  A form of witnessing how we can live together, by doing the walk with one's whole life, and not just talk.  Exploring the possibility and reality of what that can be.  They are ready for me, and they are welcoming me.  And they have a warm place for me, however I come.  This is what I am about in my life right now, searching for a community that I might resonate with strongly enough to join and live that communitarian life, to see for my self, and to offer to my fellow human beings what that might be like. 
         I am not Christian in accord with most every Christian's definition of Christian.  (I do not believe in divine intervention or impregnation, and I do not believe there is only one way.*)  And I do not wish to focus solely on the Bible or Jesus for my spiritual guidance.  So I am not material for a lifelong committed membership in Koinonia Farm or any other Christian community.  But to me that is a small difference.  I believe in many if not most radical Christian values, and find the Koinonia community very attractive for it's radical obstinate passion for non-violence, diversity, fellowship, worship, work, and service.  And when I come here for a 2-week visit, I am warmly, simply, plainly, matter-of-factly welcome to immediately work hard every day, worship, retreat or relax, as I wish.  They have plenty ready for me to do in any and each of these regards.  That is their intention.  It is easy to find.  It costs very little in suggested donation.  And it does not pay except in a place to stay, food to eat, and fellowship in service.  It does pay wages to a few local persons who have certain skills (and unskills) that they do not have enough of in the community.  And it is happy to do that as a small part of its continued focus on local service.
         This kind of welcome, to be in & with the community, I do not find at The Farm, so live, direct, warm, and intentional.  The Farm is not built for, nor revolve around, people interested in living in community.  It once was; their mission was grander and more many-fingered, thrived, grew to ten times its original size; went in debt, changed over in order to survive, throwing out many babies with the bathwater; and have been successful in continuance in this new form; meanwhile deflated back to it's original size, and those who remain are focused more on their past and (perhaps holding on to) what they were (including what human community of that may be left).  The Farm, as I experience it, is old-self focused, and has not planned and is not planning for a renewed identity (as community or spirituality), progress, or future.  In this paragraph I am looking into my self and my own experience and quandry.  It is not God's truth, and it is not what The Farm has told me in its words.  It is just where I am right now, in my own looking toward membership, in a community that I otherwise resonate with very strongly.
          Next I intend to be about writing in community.  Off to work in thuh mornin.
* … the bumper sticker on a Michigan car, finally sharing my mansion here on this coldest night, reads "God is too BIG to fit into one religion."  Hmmm … what did i just write last nite in those parentheses?  … anybody else out there having conversations with cars?

Monday, January 4, 2016

marty goes to Sunday School

1/4/16 4:58 PMm  well i been here a week tonite.  leave back to TF a week from this mornin.  halftime for Marty at Koinonia.  this time, anyway.
         i did go to Jimmy Carter's sunday school, and was coaxed into staying for the service with the carrot that i & anybody could have their picture taken with the former president, and that this was a rare opportunity to have for anyone anywhere with anypresident, and possibly the whole point of coming to sunday school for everyone involved.  so i've a photo to pop up here at last.  and i'm thinkin of makin a nother one with me with my Merkel cell carcinoma awareness T-shirt on next to one of the yard signs in every yard around here that says "Jimmy Carter for Cancer Survivor".  i do feel solidarity with him in my pacifism and my cancer thrivorship, and i appreciate his mentorship of living a life of service and peace to me and the whole country & world.  he and his wife still participate in Habitat for Humanity, for example, at least a month every year somewhere.  he had a favorite uncle who was a prisoner of war during WWII and thought to have died, but did not.  he was found to be alive after his wife had remarried after his funeral.  he was not in good shape, though.  the story is sad.  we learned a lot about his family who had all 4 kids and what 12 grandkids? and some great-grandkids.  fun downhome family tales, many sad human USican life stories.  his 28 year old grandson has recently died unexpectedly.  Jimmy is 91.
         he also did teach sunday school a significant bit after reading passages from both Luke and Matthew, about the naming of Jesus, and the power and meanings of our own names and those we give to our children.  He is James Earl Carter the Second.  His father went by Earl, and he by Jimmy.  If his father were alive, he would tell his father that he tried to live a life as much like his father did as he could.
         [nearing 8pm—>]  So what does all this have to do with Koinonia Farm?  Koinonia Farm formed very near where and when Jimmy and his wife were very young and grew up in Plains GA.  both are Christian.  both share the unusual Christian values of peace, service, and civil rights/diversity.  And Jimmy was a very strong supporter of and believer in Koinonia, as well as Habitat for Humanity, which was founded at Koinonia by members of Koinonia, and only grew out of Koinonia because its mission became worldwide, whereas Koinonia's focus and service was intentionally local.
         I have more to say, about writing and about newcomers, to both KF and TF.  but i need to get to sleep—my hardest discipline, wherever i are.  G'nite.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

work in community, service, & Sunday School!

I encourage anyone interested to check out the main websites of both The Farm in Tennessee and Koinonia Farm in Georgia. and ;  and the earlier "To learn more about our history, please visit our old site "
both have businesses, both non-profit and for profit on The Farm; and possibly all non-profit on Koinonia Farm.  and that is the major source of income and livelihood for both communities.  both were originally communal, in that they shared income and all financial holdings in the common pool of the community; and the community in turn provided each individual member with their basic living needs, such as food and shelter.  both went through a time of deep, threatening financial debt; and both came out of debt by changing from being communal to a form of each individual taking responsibility for their own living expenses. 
         The Farm calls this The Changeover, and has never changed back, and in fact threw out many other babies with the bathwater, which have also not in any clarified way changed back or even been clearly restated, as I experience it.  There is much literature on this, and many opinions if pressed, lots of feeling, but little communal definition, to my experience as a newbie.  It was 1983, after forming as a (2-300 strong) commune in 1971, and otherwise thriving (up to 1500 strong) those 12 years, full of fond memory (and i believe warranted righteousness).
         Koinonia's "changeover" was to a non-profit organization of more private financial responsibilities in the 1990's, after forming as a 2-couple Christian commune in 1942; and is now some years back into an income-sharing arrangement among the Stewards, who are members devoting the rest of their lives to work and worship at Koinonia Farm.  There are other statuses of people here who are not permanent: interns, each for a year at a time; and longer-term novices perhaps considering transition toward Stewardship.  And visitors in a wide variety of warmly invited capacities all year around—both as part of giving and of receiving service.
         both TF and KF had spiritual devotion, foundation, direction, and leadership.  TF defrocked and dethroned its spiritual teacher at the changeover, and does not retain or revive, so far, a clarified spiritual line of teaching per se, but each member who was member before the changeover does appear to have their own devout spiritual practice and way of looking at life (mine, yours, and theirs), and living, that is deeply spiritual and crucial to their own heart.
         Being here at KF, it is very easy for me to occupy my self in full-time hard or easy, constructive, meaningful work.  (away from which I consciously turn, even to write here in my blog.)  It is always easily and readily available.  And in a way it can be considered in exchange for the food at our 8 communal meals (not counting Sunday evening's worship-potluck), and very accommodating accommodations at very low suggested donation; or it can be considered, simply as my form of service in itself.
         the work on KF is primarily farming, primarily at the time pecans, and some livestock: beef, hogs, poultry & eggs.  a complete set of pecan processing plants.  a store and extensive mail-order/catalogue business featuring pecans in all forms, baked goods; and books by and about KF and perhaps radical Christianity.  and a fair bit of vegetables and greens for the community's consumption.  as i understand it these are all businesses owned and operated by KF as a community; and not privately owned and run as are most businesses on TF.  on KF they do mix paid workers hired from outside the community with workers who work as members and interns of the community, who i believe do not get paid in the same paycheck sense.
         This contrasts with a current TF e-discussion list conversation i am reading at while here at KF.  Where several old members point out how it is a rare enough luxury and honor to get longterm paying, sustaining employment on TF.  A newbie like me had sent out a request for such work on TF, saying they would prefer to be employed for their livelihood within the community rather than go outside of the community.  The major response was that that was indeed a good dream, yet could be hard to realize.  But there were a nearly equal number quietly asking what were his specialties currently, and what were any areas he desired new training in.
         Tomorrow I'm planning to go early to try to get in to former President (could that have been democrat?) of the US, Jimmy Carter's, very popular Sunday School class tomorrow morning in nearby Plains GA.  what i've heard of late (from old members on The Farm before I left for here) is that Jimmy's officially left the Southern Baptist Convention due to their extreme conservativism regarding women not being pastors, and that he's been declared cancer-free in his fairly recent survivorship (there are signs like political posters stating this, in every yard within a 20 mile radius).
         1/2/16 10:58 AMsat