Friday, 15 April 2011

Convivial Housing

A recent news item on Radio 4 revealed that there has been a rise of 30% in people their late 40s-60s living alone.

Apparently this is beginning to concern those in government. Although many have profited from the boom years and - despite straitened times - are much better off financially, their social wealth has diminished. They have become more isolated and consequently lonelier. "Resilience" would be a social issue government would have to tackle, according to the reporter; people needed help in bouncing back from adversity. A rethink of housing was also on the cards. There is a need for more "convivial housing" shared services and resources if not shared accommodation.

It seems as though we are struggling to live with each other and without each other. Western culture, perhaps more than any other, challenges the church to be the community that Jesus called it to be. It is crying out for relationship but can't figure out how to develop successful relationships - partly because it doesn't know what successful relationships look like. And partly because, more than any other culture in the world, it has elevated selfishness from a vice to a value - and a controlling value at that.

Just before his betrayal, John tells us that Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.(John 13.3-5)

The authority that Jesus has given to us provides us with the security to serve in a way that builds relationships and cultivates the kind of community that answers the cry of the isolated and atomised world around us.

You can find an associated article here


Anonymous said...

I am a baby boomer who's son is just going off to university.

I am divorced and have lived here happily with my son for about 14 yrs.

I am thinking about how I am going to spend my time now - I am worried that I could easily become isolated - I think convivial housing sounds great- flat sharing for oldies!

James said...

Lol. In all seriousness, I think this idea might prove attractive to lots of different people who live in different sizes and shapes of family - as well as those who live on their own. Perhaps the Big Society will become the convivial Society!! Thanks for your comments.