Monday, 23 June 2008 14:58
Written by Joe Waters
When I was an undergraduate at Furman University
I had the opportunity to help establish an intentional and ecumenical Christian community and house of hospitality as part of the Mere Christianity Forum
. We called the house and community "Vista House." This mission statement is on the Vista House website:
Vista House attempts to accomplish the overall mission of Mere Christianity Forum by creating a location where authentic, intentional Christian community is fostered, the good, true and beautiful is pursued, and the growth of the entire person is encouraged.
Our off-campus facility, Vista House, is a living, relational community of Christians who model and share the vision and love of Christ. By serving both the Furman University and greater Greenville community with the preparing and serving of meals, the creation of a warm and inviting atmosphere suitable for discussion and retreat, and the forging of genuine relationships with others through community, Vista House fellows and regular attendees of the Mere Christianity Forum attempt to model the holistic Christian life. The goal of Vista House is to paint a vista, a landscape, of the beauty and truth of the Christian life in a comfortable environment by persons living in an intentional Christian community.
Sherry and I were speaking earlier today about how to evangelize post-moderns and one thing we considered essential was the witness of intentional communities willing to witness faithfully to Christ and the Gospel through their community life, hospitality, right Christian practice (as a necessary complement to right Christian belief or orthodoxy), and the encounter with beauty. Monastic life did much of what we seek to do at Vista House (indeed monastic authors played a huge role forming us in preparation for establishing Vista House) in the evangelization of Europe and a renewal along those lines was called for by Alasdair MacIntyre at the end of After Virtue.
We must remember that in a post-modern and post-Christian age propositional apologetics will not be effectively used in the same ways they used to be. However, as the emergent church is teaching us, the witness of truth, goodness, and beauty lived,
particularly in communities and transcendent worship rooted in Christian tradition, will be a more effective means of evangelization than the apologetics of the past. We recognized this five years ago in the establishment of Vista House
and I offer it as a witness to the possibilities for effectively evangelizing post-moderns.