Cohousing -- God's Ideal Capitalist Communities
Michael Craig's vision
In the May, 1995 Unification News Michael Craig wrote an article called "Garden Homes: A New Approach to Housing Ourselves."
He wrote that "it would be impossible to succeed in our collective mission unless we pulled together" but unfortunately there is no "consensus on how this could be accomplished." The members in Detroit only met "on Sundays and special occasions. As each family became involved in the struggle to feed, clothe and shelter themselves, there was little time and energy left to promote a significant transformation of our collective social environment. In this regard, the concept 'where two or more are gathered' took on a new meaning for me. Single families existing miles apart would never succeed in bringing about the kind of radical change implied by True Parent's tradition. However, a physical community (minimum of four families) could perhaps generate enough 'critical mass' to tilt the scales."
This sure sounds great to me. Let's do it. The problem of course is that these couples must love each other. Families could begin the process by visiting each other's house and have potluck. Over time, if they gel then they can get the finances and commitment to live together. This brother's "vision" was families eating together in a community dining room and having room for gardens. He says there would be great savings and mutual aid by having "cooperation in food buying, babysitting, and a hundred other details of everyday life. There could be co-sharing of big ticket items such as lawnmowers, power tools, etc., as well. It is easy to imagine parents (and older children) having weekly meetings in the community dining area (perhaps over dinner) to discuss ways to cooperate to further reduce the economic burden of raising families. This would free each to devote more time to witnessing and teaching."
I agree. But I'd like to expand this brother's vision to communities that already exist and direct you to the book CoHousing by Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant that shows beautiful colored pictures of communities in Denmark that share a communal dining room called the "common house."
At the website www.cohousing.org we read: "The first attempt to build a Danish cohousing community began in the winter of 1964 when Danish architect Jan Gudmand-Hoyer gathered a group of friends to discuss current housing options. Over several months, this circle of friends discussed possibilities for a more supportive living environment. By the end of the year, they had bought a site on the outskirts of Copenhagen and developed plans for twelve terraced houses set around a common house and swimming pool. Gudmand-Hoyer went on to write an article entitled 'The Missing Link between Utopia and the Dated One-Family House,' in which he described his group's ideas and their project. When published in a national newspaper in 1968, the article elicited responses from over a hundred families interested in living in a similar community.
"At the same time, others were writing about similar ideas, including Bodil Graae. Her 1967 article, 'Children Should Have One Hundred Parents,' led to a group of fifty families interested in creating 'a housing collective with the common denominator 'also for children.'"
As I write in my book Clear Goal for Utopia, Rev. Moon often talks about how God wants us to live in a utopia. It is interesting that the founders of cohousing wrote an article saying it is the link between utopia and the lonely homes in the suburbs and apartment complexes Satan has designed. I also like the title of the article saying that children should have many parents. The missing link between cohousing and an absolute world-wide utopia is the Divine Principle. Tight-knit communities centered on the theology and lifestyle of the Principle will be the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Several of these cohousing communities have been built in America. Please go to the library and check the book out. It is exciting to see how wonderful these communities are. The genius of these planned communities is that they blend private and public property. Each family has their own fully equipped apartment or house with its own kitchen close to all the others.
To those who would say that it is a pipe dream that Americans -- and even American Unificationists -- will give up their lonely lives in suburbs and stretch to live close to others, I would like to point out that very few have heard of the concept of cohousing and as it gets more popular, then more will join.
But I agree that most people will not get excited about the external arrangement of cohousing. That will come when the internal has changed. People stay away from others because they are disunited in ideology. When the Principle sweeps the earth, then people will want to be with others. Are Unificationists ready for close communities? As they learn about cohousing, I pray that they will give up living away from members and want to build privately owned homes next to other members.
Father is critical of Americans being so individualistic and perhaps many UC members have been digested by our culture also. It would be more precise to use the word "feminism" instead of individualism because the ideology of feminism is what has caused people to be divided. Here's the logic. The opposite of individualism would be, to coin a word, groupism. What is the basic group of mankind? It is the family. What philosophy is against Godly families? Feminism hates the patriarchal, traditional family.
To those Unificationists who say they are against patriarchy I would remind them that the first generation stood in front of a man who they called "Father" and let him make the greatest decision of their lives for them. He confidently made tens of thousands of decisions in matching couples to be married. Mother did not and as far as I can tell she still isn't even though some male leaders in the UC have done some matching. Father is the epitome of a patriarch. When it comes time to make the many decisions in his world-wide organization he makes them with total confidence. It is not parentism or familism, but patriarchy that is the dominate philosophy of Father. When American Unificationist sisters stop being bones as Father chastises them, then the UC will come together in community. As long as sisters are working for money and looking down on men as not the final decision makers in their homes, then the American UC will continue to not grow.
When the UC rejects the feminism that has corrupted the church and restore traditional family values to blessed couples then sisters will want to live close to other sisters so they can help each other, and brothers will then be strong and able to earn good incomes to build homes that can house 10 or more children. They will have the money to adopt, if necessary, and care for a large family and to help other families and the church financially. Sadly, the UC is made up of men who act like "flesh." They are wimps who do not teach the Principle with power and results. When was the last time you saw a UC brother witness, teach, convert and raise another man to be spiritually strong and go out and duplicate him?
The traditional family is the extended family because women care for the elderly, not put them in nursing homes so they can be free to work outside the home. As America has gotten more feminist every year in the 20th century, divorce has increased and now half of all children are born out of wedlock. The family and therefore the community has been destroyed by feminism. The UC needs to sell off any churches it has and build cohousing communities. To do this, the leadership in the church and the men in their homes must get their wives out of the workplace and back into the home. This will give the spiritual energy and focus to build successful careers and be the spiritual head of their homes. This will lead to brothers teaching the Principle. The Principle is the last thing the most brothers in the UC think about. They are emasculated and feminized.