Off the Grid


The words were stuck in my mouth like a dry piece of dressing. Not even the green Jell-o could help out.

“No,  I don’t live in a shelter. I live with people who operate the shelter.”

“Are they homeless, too?”

“None of us are homeless,” I tried to explain. “We live in an intentional community…by choice.”

I thought about the weird path my life had taken, how I was definitely living plan B, B for too bazaar to explain. Or as the voice on my Garmin would say is I took a wrong turn, “Recalculating”.

Or as one of my friends explains it, “Girl, you’re living off the grid” .

I don’t live in a hole like a Hobbit, or in a cave like Batman, or on an island with the professor and Gilligan,  but at Jesus People,  where I mingle with aging hippies, musicians, bohemians and carpenters. They transformed an old hotel in Chicago’s Uptown into an intentional faith based community.


So in a nutshell, it’s a lot like Mother Teresa’s Missions of Charity colliding with a John Irving novel. Seven floors of colorful characters that care for the homeless, family-less and penniless.

And my job is to feed that human box of crayolas.

“Hopefully, God will open a door for you soon to move.”

“You’re right,” I agreed. “I don’t think God would approve of me feeding those that feed the poor.”

The funny thing is, living off the “gated community” grid and in a faith based community is a Christian concept. The early church lived communally. Jesus was a homeless couch surfer. Yet  it’s Christians who have a hard time comprehending  why someone actually living the way Jesus did.

But my friends who are don’t do church?

“Cool, Ginger. You’re actually a Christian who does Christian things.”

Go figure.

As I fielded questions between mouthfuls of melting gelatin, I thanked my atheist friends for understanding what I do. Without their support, I’d give up living like a Christian.



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