We’ve been incredibly busy over the last few months. As we were getting back into the swing of things, the semester has flown by. Although things have been hectic at times, we were really excited to have the opportunity to visit another intentional community. In January we drove to Conway, Arkansas and visited the Bonhoeffer House at Hendrix College. We started off the day bright and early at 7:30 and embarked on a hilarious car ride with Professor McNary-Zak. When we got to Hendrix we met Professor Williamson, their faculty advisor, as well as current and past Bonhoeffer House members. We took turns explaining each of our intentional communities (to the best of our ability) and then asked questions and discussed the differences in our versions of intentional living. The Bonhoeffer House is an intentionally Christian community, which entails prayer, devotional study, reflection, hospitality, and service. We were able to discuss in-depth the core values of our communities and what intentional living means in terms of our liberal arts education. We also talked about what a typical week looks like for both of our communities, and both found aspects of the each other’s practices appealing. While they really liked the idea of intentional buddies and professor dinners we thought that keeping a journal could be particularly beneficial for us and our reflections. Regardless of our differences, it was very encouraging to see other students engaging in intentional living during their college experience.
Additionally, meeting with multiple generations of the Bonhoeffer group was enlightening for us as it allowed us to see how their program, which has been around since 2007, has grown and transformed over time. As the Ruka is relatively new, it was interesting to see how dynamic their communities have been and how each year is different. After we had lunch and continued conversation, we walked across campus to the current living space in on campus apartments. Unlike Rhodes, most of Hendrix’s students live on campus all four years and thus integrating intentional community and on campus living is an added obstacle and opportunity. We spent time in their community space discussing our college lives and comparing both Rhodes with Hendrix and Memphis with Conway. At the end of the day we had a quick wrap up and reflection before driving back to Memphis. Overall it was a great experience for us to engage with other students participating in similar programs at another school. We hope to continue the dialogue between our two communities and hope one day the Bonhoeffer House can visit the Ruka!