The New York Times reports on a new trend in city living:
APARTMENT hunters always have a wish list of things that will help them call a new place home — doormen, laundry rooms, southern exposures.[. . .]
Community mattered to Jason Storbakken, 33, and his wife, Vonetta, 36, who wanted to share their lives with other followers of Christ, and not just for an hour on Sunday morning. So the couple started Radical Living, a Christian collective, in 2007 in a Brooklyn brownstone they bought in 2001 for $180,000, first rehabbing it to the tune of $80,000. To find members, they began “targeted marketing,” Mr. Storbakken said, advertising for roommates on Christian Web sites.
Today Radical Living is home to 20 adults, with several satellite apartments within a block of the brownstone. The word radical, the group’s Web site explains, means “relating to the root or origin,” and refers to the members’ aim “to return to primitive Christianity and to share their lives with others in a spirit of love and service.” Thus, Mr. Storbakken, faith “plays out in every area of your life, from the food you eat to your housing.”
The house is ecumenical, and there are Catholics and Protestants among the current residents, as well as varying levels of orthodoxy and an assortment of ages and backgrounds. The residents meet for weekly meals to discuss values and scripture. Sometimes they fast together. On these warm summer days, Bible study takes place on the brownstone’s brick patio.
New Yorkers now and then hear their hometown demonized as a modern-day Sodom and a deviation from the rural authenticity and old-fashioned piety of the heartland. Not so, says Storbakken: “You always hear that it’s a fiercely secular city [. . .] but the Holy Spirit is alive and well in Brooklyn.”
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