catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 17 :: 2009.09.04 — 2009.09.17


From oasis to desert island

It was a grand and glorious plan!  In the midst of the upheaval of the sixties, an intentional community made its first steps toward building a safe haven for those wanting peace, harmony and spirituality.  They would live together, sharing their meals, their work on the dairy farm and their religious beliefs. Many families came to partake of this wonderful, peaceful community — mine included. 

My uncle was the manager of the farm, experienced from growing up on a dairy farm.  My cousins and brothers lived and worked at the farm while my mother, father, brother and I lived just down the road.  I was the youngest of six and my mother missed the older children greatly.  We eventually moved before I was old enough to work at the farm, and so I never fully experienced the community there.  I left with an idealistic view of this model.

As with many utopian ventures, this one came to an eventual end.  The one loose brick in the foundation of utopian philosophies is when members forget that we all have a sin nature.  This one brick has toppled many towers of ideals. 

It was no different at the dairy farm.  One man became powerful, making decisions for the “good” of the community.  If others questioned his decisions, they were ostracized for daring to question his authority.  One by one, families left under pretenses of illness or care for an elderly parent, never to return.  A few thought they could sit down and talk sensibly about how things were being run in order to affect positive change.  However, when they returned to do so, they found themselves barred from entering the community.  Instead of being a true community, those remaining became an island unto themselves — a remote island, isolated in the midst of one of the largest nations in the world. 

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