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The time as come …

July 18, 2018

The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of many things. This is a Public Service Announcement – may it reach far and wide – to let our adoring public know that we, as a collective, have decided to end the house. Not to end the community we have built – but to end this particular and very specific iteration of intentional community called the House of Commons. The reasons for us coming to this decision are simple enough. A lack of people moving in and the general feeling that we, as individual people, felt the seasons changing for us. It’s nobody’s fault, and there’s no behind-the-scenes drama – although if there was, I would definitely try to get us on Dr. Phil – we all love each other just as much as we ever did. We simply know that the HOC’s time has come to an end.

Of course we will be sad to say goodbye. Goodbyes are sad. In the words of one friend, “I am gutted” and in the words of another “No! I need my trash digging white people!” However, I would like to everyone to know that we aren’t disappearing. We aren’t going to hide our love away, even though the Beatles told us we should. I will still be around and plan to stay in the neighborhood. Things the HOC has taught me – loving honestly even when it hurts, the practices of sharing what I have with others, keeping an open door, caring for the earth, feminism, including people who I normally wouldn’t gravitate towards, seeing Jesus in the poor and marginalized, letting others care for me, breaking as many by-laws as I can, etc. – those are a part of me now and that part of my life isn’t ending just because the house is. I’ll take it with me.

We’re all looking forward to what this new season will bring in each of our lives. I’m letting go of the house to make room for something new. I fear and distrust the unknown, but I’m doing it anyway. Because it might be really good. You don’t know what will happen. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t feel as if it’s a time of mourning. We can be sad to say goodbye and still celebrate this weird thing that we built together. Because it WAS weird! Does anybody remember the Mormons? I wrote a poem about it. It was called, “Just Put A Mormon Between Us.” Anybody who was a part of the house over the past eight years – and there’s been like 800 people – this was your place too. It was for you. And you, by being part of the house, made it a place for me. You can make your own family. There is belonging in the unlikeliest of places and with the unlikeliest of people.

I never thought I would ever be a part of something like this – a hippie-adjacent Christian social experiment – and I don’t want to say all the trite things like “it changed my life” and “I am a better person” or even “I’m gonna miss you guys so much! Sign my yearbook! We’ll stay in touch, won’t we?” Please. Give me a break. But I will say this : I did not ever think that life had something in store for me like what I’ve experienced over the past eight years. Something wonderful, wild, heartbreaking, weird, surprising, hilarious, frustrating, and unimaginable. I simply could not have imagined something like this. Or, to borrow a pithier phrase, “You can’t make this shit up.” So it’s true what they say – about God giving you things. I used to roll my eyes so hard when people would say things like “You can’t imagine what God has in store for you!” But it really happened. (Aaaaaand I think I’ve hit my evangelical pep talk quota for the next eight years. You’re welcome. Don’t worry, I will still be holding Religious Cynicism 101 classes in my spare time.)

We still need a goodbye, though. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. Which brings me to informing you of the following :

August 9 is the LAST EVER COMMUNITY DINNER and I’m going to eat so much that I’ll probably have to be hospitalized after. Everybody get in here.

We are also going to have a goodbye party complete with speeches, a slideshow, and FOOOOOOOOOOD. FOOD! And dranks. Grape dranks. Date TBA.

Love Megan

Here’s a note from my sister wives

Dear friends, thank you for being such a big part of our little community here over the years. Your continuous support has been greatly appreciated !

From helping with community dinners, joining for house concerts, praying with us and for us, helping financially… the list just keeps going.

It’s has been incredible being a part of this intentional community over the past 7 years or so, and I am so appreciative of everything that has come out it.

I am looking forward to what comes next and the different ways we can continue to build community together !

Love Sarah

Dear friends,

I just wanted to say that I am really thankful for the House of Commons and that I was able to be a part of the House of Commons – I have loved being a part of the community within the house and in Bowness!

Love Elena

– check out our Facebook page for more info on closing events ! – final dinner and final party !

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Summer …

June 27, 2018

I absolutely love all of our perennials, they continue to blossom and return to us every year! Here is just a small snap shot of our summer so far – come on over and visit !

Every spring!!

Who doesn’t need a giant amount of Hummus !

We participated in National Doughnut Day!

Chives for Dayz

Anyone need some oregano?

Haven’t actually seen any strawberries in a few years but they still are nice to have around.

Nothing quite like a Bowness Sunset!

I would like to introduce you all to our friendly neighborhood cat who as seemed to of adopted us – Welcome Wes Anderson!

Since You’ve Been Gone

May 6, 2018

 

I ditched everyone and went to Florida for two weeks. I got a sunburn on the back of my hand (it looks like I have leprosy there now) and witnessed some exceptionally rude driving, went to the beach, went on a swamp tour, went to the botanical gardens, hung out with my friends, etc. I also went to Universal Studios and experienced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Needless to say I’m pretty sure my life is all gonna be downhill from now on. But maybe it won’t, as I am seeing Paul Simon in concert with my relentlessly eccentric family approximately ten days from now. Want to make a pun about a Mother and Child Reunion, but the words aren’t coming.

Young Aamanda moved out for the summer. She has joined forces with the cult styling itself as “Gull Lake Christian Camp.” I am kidding. It’s not a cult. (That we know of…..yet.) She will be washing dishes with the Lady (Alex) Butt. Beyond that, I don’t know much about her activities, but I will be driving out there soon enough to peruse her lifestyle myself. I will report back in due course. We hope to see her smiling face, shrieky laughs, and constantly dancing body around the house in September.

Sarah gonna do what Sarah gonna do. She has been forcefully acquiring plants, keeping things running while I’m away, and being a constant ray of sunshine and light. Her and Liam hope to put in the garden soon.

Liam, well. Who knows what Liam has been doing? I mean that literally. I literally don’t know what Liam has been doing. I mean, I don’t know what he gets up to even when I’m in the country, and I’ve been out of it for two weeks, so I really couldn’t tell you. If I could hazard a guess, I would say that he has been listening to “hot jams”, doing “good deeds”, and keeping a leaning tower of unclaimed materials outside his bedroom door. In the hallway. (That was a passive aggressive hint.)

Elena got a BEDROOM DOOR while I was away. Elena lives in the “man cave” (a room once christened the “lady cave” before we realized how it sounded). It has been sectioned off by a curtain for the past seven years. We are just like real grown-ups now, with doors to our rooms and everything. Elena has probably also been studying like mad, participating in outdoor activities, and generally being industrious. You’re doing amazing, sweetie!

We also had a house show this month – I WASN’T HERE, but apparently it was simply divine. Heather May showed up and played some lovely melodies for everyone except me and we hope to have her back soon. Check out her music at https://soundcloud.com/heather-adam 

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Community dinners are still on every thursday at 7 pm. Come out and have some free food and hang out with us!

We are just down to just four personnel now and really need new roommates, especially for the summer. Please email us at bownesshouseofcommons@gmail.com if you are interested!

 

“Spring” Retreat

April 13, 2018

Don’t forget to snowsuit up.

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Hospitality.

March 1, 2018

There are lots of parts of the Bible I don’t like. I have no qualms in admitting that to you, as the bible is often taken out of context and used as a weapon, which I also really don’t like. There are parts that make me angry, parts that infuriate me, parts the confuse the shit out of me, parts that make me want to quit. There are also parts that I like, parts that thrill me, parts that I love. This is a story about a part of the bible that I love. And I guess I started off telling you that there are lots of parts I don’t like for the sake of contrast. I wouldn’t say it’s rare for me to talk about the bible, but it certainly isn’t an everyday occurrence. We’ve got our issues.

SO ANYWAY. There is this story, in the bible (and this is Megan’s paraphrase, so bear with me). It’s a story that Jesus told to prove a point about how people can be dicks, and it goes a little like this – two dudes go to a temple to pray. One is a Pharisee (I.e. a religious leader) and one is a tax collector (i.e a douchebag).

The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed : “God, I thank you that I am not like other people, robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “O God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

So my super intelligent and sexy friend Amy preached about this at church last night. (#WomenWhoPreach #SuckItJohnPiper) But she changed the words up a little bit. What a saucy minx! Instead of saying “The Pharisee” she said “The Awakener.” And instead of saying, “I thank you that I am not like other people, robbers, evildoers, and that I fast and tithe” she said “I thank you that I am not like other people – I have welcomed the refugee, I have protected and cared for the environment, I am invested in the neighborhood, etc etc.” And then, instead of using the words “the tax collector” she described him as “a Trump supporter who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat.” Way to hit me where it hurts, AMY.

Now, I can’t speak for everyone in my church. I like to think we’re very welcoming and accepting of everyone. But I can speak for myself. If someone had showed up to my church like that, my first reaction would have been along the lines of “Who said this asshole could come?”

And just to clarify – I am friends with lots of people who actually voted for Trump. And I love them with all the fierce intensity and devotion of a feral honey badger. If I thought cutting my arm off would benefit them or save them pain in any way, I would do it. It isn’t that I unilaterally hate Republicans or Conservatives.

But it got me thinking about hospitality. Hospitality, for me, is a key component of Christianity and of what the House of Commons stands for and does on a day-to-day basis. God asks us to provide hospitality to the stranger. To the people who maybe don’t fit in our churches. To me, I’ve always interpreted that as I need to show hospitality to those who I view as society’s underdog. And I have done this. I have done this religiously. The gay/trans/queer person. The poor person. The single mother. The refugee. The homeless person. The abused person. Anybody who doesn’t benefit from white privilege.

I won’t say it was without its ups and downs. But I wanted to do it. So it was easy in that way. My heart yearns for those people to have a place, and so to be able to provide that place was as cathartic as it was frustrating.

But did I have room in my heart to show hospitality to those who I view as being in positions of power? As having privilege? Was I able to use the words conservative, fundamentalist, republican, rich, white, pro-life, pro-gun, etc. without disdain and anger dripping all over it? I wasn’t. I know I wasn’t.

There is a story in my family – a beloved story, one that has been told countless times, and it goes like this : One day, my mother and I came home and found sweet little Kevin, who was maybe five or six years old at the time, sobbing brokenheartedly at the kitchen table. Completely inconsolable. We asked Kevin why he was crying. He replied, with the appropriate amount of pathos, “Because Dad spanked me – FOR NO REASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” My mother and I exchanged glances. Kevin continued crying. Eventually we asked him, Well, why did Dad say that he spanked you? And the story came out that Kevin had put Muffin, our cat, into my father’s lunchbox, and when Dad had gone to make his lunch, out had popped that irate party. Just to make matters complete, my father is and was a veritable cat-hater (referring to our cat only as Lucifer and even putting a sign in the window that said “Cats – just another white meat.”) The image I have in my brain of my father whistling along cheerily to himself, opening his lunchbox and being greeted by an airborne cat, complete with yowls and outstretched claws, is one that brings me to tears of unspeakable mirth to this day. I can’t even tell this story out loud without simultaneous maniacal laughter/sobbing, bringing me close to a state that the doctors refer to as “hysterics.” The cherry on the top of the whole thing is Kevin’s indignation. Dad had spanked him for no reason.

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But there is a point to this story.

Perhaps I, when discovering something unpleasantly surprising and repulsive in something that was previously a life-giving source of joy (i.e homophobia in the church, racism in the church, misogyny in the church, elitism in the church, hypocrisy in the church, greed in the church, bullying in the church, hatred in the church) have been given to knee-jerk outrage and S.W.W. (Spanking Without Warning.) There is no place for these people, I think. Their sins must be squelched and we must drive them from the building.

So how was I better?

How was I better than those as I viewed as wrong, or as the oppressor? How did I welcome them? How did I forgive them? How did I show them hospitality? Short answer : I didn’t. I believed that they did not deserve it, that they did not deserve my love or forgiveness. I simply didn’t have room for them. In my heart, I believed that they did not deserve the time of day. Oh God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

I was discussing something along these lines with my roommate Elena the other day, and she said, in response, that she understood what I was struggling with, but when indigenous kids are getting shot in the back of the head and gay kids are committing suicide because of the rejection and cruelty they face – at the hands of the church – that is where she draws the line. That’s where she’s disembarking. This party train ain’t going no further. So I want to be absolutely clear. There is no place in society and especially no place in the church for racism, homophobia, misogyny, greed, hatred, and fear and rejection for people on the margins. There is not. Jesus is and always has been the antithesis of that. But can I – can we – stop congratulating ourselves on being better Christians? Is our home and our space and our lives truly open to everyone? Who do I really have grace for?

I think I really only have grace for those who I view as the underdog. If you are on the margins. If you are poor. If you have been rejected. If you have struggled. If you have been systemically disenfranchised. If you have not been valued. If you have been violated. If you have experienced violence. If you have been taken advantage of because you are seen as weaker or less than. I proclaim you beloved and I welcome you into my space. There is a place for you. I want – more than anything – an inclusive Christianity. If we’re not doing that, I think, then we’re not doing anything. We might as well pack our bags and go home. And I live with a group of people who also believe that. Everybody is welcome at the table. And I think, to an extent, we’ve been successful.

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I also think, to an extent, that I have been a Pharisee. Thank God I’m not like those other Christians. Thank God I’m a good white person. Thank God for the way we do things in my house. Thank God that “I fast twice a week and tithe”, thank God, thank God, thank God.

I hope that going forward, I can take the stance of the tax collector. My sins, such as they are, are not better than anybody else’s. I hope that I, and that our house, can have the capacity for a hospitality that’s for everyone.

Who do you have trouble showing hospitality to?

Look What You Made Me Do

February 2, 2018

Liam failed to update the blog this month even though I asked super nice so now as punishment I’m publishing a bunch of Liam quotes taken out of context. How do you LIKE ME NOW.

And then roll my body into a ditch, cause that’s the cheapest burial.

This is a hacker den.

Sarah : Megan said we could slap her if she ate dairy today
Liam : Just pre-slap her! Better safe than sorry.

Liam : Maybe Hamish will put on an erotic dance for us!
Hamish : I certainly will not. I’ve put on five pounds of holiday weight.
Liam : That makes it more sexy!

It’s not good when no one claps, Sarah.

Hamish makes us look bad because he’s way cooler and nicer than us. He’s got the heart of a nice Grandma! We need to get someone more hateable.

Me : Liam, just MAKE a Christmas card, it’s not that hard
Liam : Megan’s the grinch who saved Christmas through the use of bad sweatshops.

Dad Science is my contribution to the world.

Me : You can’t write “from Megan” if it’s not from me
Liam : That’s called censorship and you can’t do that to me

He’s kind of weird, but he can tone it down for family functions.

I got Megan chocolates today because she’s sad so I’m the best Christian here

Rude, Elena! You bring out the dark side of Sarah.

Elena : I can always tell Liam by his scurry
Liam : I’m scurrying towards the snacks!

It’s not fraud if we like each other as friends.

Me : We’re not hippies. We’re hippie adjacent.
Sarah : yeah, we fit into a very specific category
Liam : Chaotic neutral?

We could all just be your girlfriend. Think of the benefits.

I was with my daughter all weekend and she taught me battle moves

Who’s ever said, in their life, “Oh, male strippers – that’s a depressing time”

Liam : I’m just following orders. From Jesus Stalin.
Me : Stop calling me that

Liam : Since no one’s here, we are having the meeting topless
Me : NO
Hamish : Nice! I will also be topless.
Me : NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Elena : Megan’s the best prayer!
Me : I don’t know how that happened. I feel like I’m the worst at it.
Liam : You’re not the worst at praying, Trump is! He’s like “Dear Super Capitalist Jesus Who Is Also Very Racist”

Sarah’s punishment chore is to put potatoes in a pan and smell one of my farts

He’s an ultra never-nude! He’s going to a mormon dance party!

Me : I don’t have worse low self esteem than anybody else!
Liam : It’s not a race to the BOTTOM

I saved everyone’s lives. I did it for you, Dumpster Jesus.

How does Young Aamanda have more friends than me already?

Megan’s getting so frustrated that she’s doing it for me, which was my plan all along!

We don’t actually know what’s happening, we’re just Dad-sciencing it!

Let’s give him weird kisses.

Me: What’s the point of people liking guns?
Liam : to kill people
Aamanda : to be a cool American
Me : I feel like neither of these answers are satisfactory

No, don’t put on pants. You’re going for all-you-can-eat sushi – by the time you’re done they’re not gonna respect you anyways.

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I can’t believe christian fundamentalists are weirder than satanists.

Liam : He’s not ignorant, but he’s a little sassy. Like you.
Me : I’m not ignorant but I’m sassy? Is that how you describe me to your friends?
Liam : Yeah – like you wouldn’t say the n-word, but you might do a butt dance

What’s this movie called? Sexy Teens Have Problems?

Liam : I gave you a hug!
Elena : That’s not a chore.

But my good pal Elena – whom I’ve only ever touched on the shoulder twice – said I did a really good job cleaning the bathroom.

Jesus, keep an eye on Megan cause she’s been extra mean to me.

Elena : How do you have a garage sale in the winter?
Liam : That’s for us to know and you to find out

He’s worse than Voldemort! He’s good-looking Voldemort!

Liam : Megan. You’re called Nice Megan.
Me : Why?
Liam : Do you wanna be called Sexy Megan?
Me : No!
Liam : Then you’re Nice Megan.

I would encourage you from afar.

You’re crippled. Emotionally. Physically, you’re fine.

You can’t just cute your way out of problems!

Oh, I see – I get her a boyfriend by meddling, and now she ditches us.

I accidentally saw Sarah’s midriff yesterday and it was very white.

My daughter was putting stickers all over my nipples yesterday and I was like “Why are you doing this!” and she was like, “So no one will see you.”

(Re: Ikea) This is where white people go to get anxiety.

Anyone sexist? You get plated.

Aamanda : Honestly, all of your kombucha just confuses me
Liam : That’s because you’re a teenager.

You can’t lie on your birthday and get away with it.

Are you guys being Christian snobs? BUSTED!

Me : I can’t believe I’m having to explain this joke to you
Liam : I understand the joke. I just think it’s funnier when you explain your own jokes and blow it

Elena : What do you think of me?
Liam : Beautiful murderer. They’ll say “She was beautiful! Too bad about that murder streak”

Don’t you love me? And care about me?

I’ve been quinoa-shamed!

Elena : No, we’re not gonna do that.
Liam : You just don’t have a can-do attitude!

I say we turn this into a pumpkin hydroponics wall. With real pumpkins.

If anything, it’s on you Debbie Downers stopping my dreams. What dreams have YOU accomplished lately? Besides crushing mine?

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Typical evening at home. Liam yelling at me from underneath a blanket

Raccoons are better as cartoons

January 11, 2018

Welcome to season seven of the House of Commons?

Here’s a little update on everyone –
Megan : Currently really into Chrissy Teigen’s twitter account, hibernating, hot baths, being sassy, the podcast entitled 2 Dope Queens, and my birthday. Which is this month. I’ll alert the media. I want an electric blanket and Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook so let’s all get out there and make it happen. Have also started a campaign to try not to eat any sweets/pastries/dairy for 24 hours. Approaching hour 16 and my will to live is starting to leave me pls send help
Sarah : Recently synced her and her boyfriend’s google calendar. Working on that exercise thing. Butt looks amazing. Has started a campaign to paint one of the walls in the living room orange. I was alarmed but Nicole said it was okay. Goals for the New Year include remaining aggressively passionate about oral hygiene and RSVPing to every possible facebook event.
Young Aamanda : Possibly working as a baker at a CUPCAKE STORE. HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE. Also has been seen dancing literally everywhere, sending memes to all her friends, and supporting Liam’s dream of starting a D-Pop store, which is “like Etsy but angstier.” Their store slogan will be “Megan smells. Shop at our D-Pop”
Elena : Continuing her education so she can remain the smartest and best-looking out of all of us. Extracurricular activities include : strenuous indoor & outdoor physical activities, singing in the choir, laughing at my cool jokes, making me dinner, and acquiring Roommate of the Month award
Liam : Has been seen doing good deeds, never wearing pants, being bossed around by his daughter, raising our self-esteem, and spouting obnoxious phrases, such as (but not limited to)
“I’ve done enough good deeds that I can be mean now!”
“WHY do we have to wear pants?”
“I don’t care about excuses that are valid, I just want punishments!”
Hamish : Gone but never forgotten. I miss Hamish a lot. Every day I miss Hamish. Nobody has even asked me today if I want any tea, which Hamish used to do, approximately every fifteen minutes. We also don’t have anyone to teach us about feminism now, though Liam says have to do it, which is ridiculous because all I do is get ragey and say things like “The Patriarchy is the enemy and it must be crushed.” 78% of the way there to becoming a full-blown Disney villain and this is my origin story

Upcoming Events :
House Show, January 26th, 7 pm, Flint & Feather. This will be birthday-themed as it is the weekend of my birthday and everything that’s happening that weekend IS GOING TO BE BIRTHDAY THEMED. Even if it’s just me. I’m birthday-themed. By myself. In the corner. All alone. So like, also Eeyore-themed. Just please come to this house show.

Community Dinners : Every thursday son, 7 pm, come for the free food and stay for the hooligans. Also email me if you want to contribute in literally any form

JASON ZELLING IS RETURNING TO US IN FEBRUARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET HYPED

And we still need new roommates. So…like….call me.

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