Oikos: is it sustainable?
Oikos, some days it just doesn’t seem efficient.
Maybe community life seems to distract you from achieving your aims or feels hard work and wears you out. Today I’ve been thinking about the practicalities of keeping oikos sustainable so that it becomes a way of life and not just a good idea in theory.
Oikos community involves sharing meals together; both planned and spontaneous. This week I turned a beef casserole for three into a beef pie for six with the addition of pastry, mash potatoes and green beans. Consider: what are the cupboard or freezer items that you can keep in stock to allow you to easily adapt meals for extra guests? A cupboard staple for me is the ingredients for a pasta bake for those days when all the food has been eaten and there’s not time for yet another supermarket trip. Expect eating together to affect what you need to put in your supermarket trolley. What would be easy, sustainable ways for you to be able to be flexible over extra guests for dinner?
We’ve made a plan for daily prayer for the next few months to avoid us having to reinvent from scratch every day. For us our pattern is to pray while we eat breakfast and drink our coffee. Resources needed are low – a bible, some toast and spread, some coffee.
Opening – One person starts us off with a short prayer
Worship – We’ve been reading aloud a psalm a day – begin sipping coffee…
Thanks – As I put butter and marmalade on my toast is a great time to chat about what things we’re thankful to God for.
Word – We’re currently reading through Mark taking about a paragraph, somewhere between 10 – 20 verses a day. As we munch toast one person reads aloud from the bible and then we chat briefly about our initial reactions and things that stood out to us from the reading.
Intercession – Briefly share what we’re up to today before praying, finishing by using the Lord’s prayer For us this gives us enough structure to get started even when it’s a morning where the car has to be taken to the MOT centre before work.
We’ve put the structure on a piece of A5 paper that we keep in the dining room with a bible so you don’t have to go far to find anything.
Oikos does involve the daily practicalities like washing up after dinner; but it needs also to include some fun! Whose birthdays are coming up and how will you celebrate? Other than birthdays September isn’t a big party season as many get back into the work / school vibe after lighter summer schedules. Thinking about weekends in September and October what are the relaxing low key activities we might do that are both fun and help us meet new people? Last Sunday a quick trip to the allotment took ages as we chatted to people we met on the walk there, so much so I nearly burnt the dinner. Activities range from the highly organised like a bonfire party to the low key such as a walk to the park on a Sunday afternoon. Plan according to the time of the year. Here the weather is still strangely summery so maybe theres still time for a few BBQs?
What ways have you found to make Oikos sustainable?
Jenny Irvine, together with her husband Gareth have just planted a new missional community base called Saint Aidan’s in the north of the city of Coventry. We’ve taken a small team of young adults with us, to live as in incarnational community focused around prayer and mission. We’re currently involved in Kidz Klub which works with children from challenging housing estates, and visit about 30 families each week on the estate where we live.