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.”
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.