Chris is spending the week at a L’Abri community not far from where we live. I was pleased that he made the reservation on his own initiative and got there on his own steam. This is quite a step forward for him. For the past few months his treatment program (both psychiatric and alternative) has emphasized the need for him to become more independent. Chris, in the right environment, surrounded by the right people, is a different Chris than the sometimes nervous individual that we see at home. He spent a few days at L’Abri earlier this summer with his brother, Taylor, and was keen to go back.
From the L’Abri website:
L’Abri is a French word that means shelter. The first L’Abri community was founded in Switzerland in 1955 by Dr. Francis Schaeffer and his wife, Edith. Dr. Schaeffer was a Christian theologian and philosopher who also authored a number of books on theology, philosophy, general culture and the arts.
The L’Abri communities are study centers in Europe, Asia and America where individuals have the opportunity to seek answers to honest questions about God and the significance of human life. L’Abri believes that Christianity speaks to all aspects of life.
At this site you will find the latest information for each branch and an introduction to what L’Abri Fellowship is all about. If you still have questions after reviewing the information here, please contact the branch closest to where you live.
Coincidentally, my book editor was spending a few days in our home while Chris was away, and she brought up the idea of intentional communities, a type of communal living arrangement that I was vagely aware of, and that fit the description of L’Abri.
I don’t know much about intentional communities (many of which are “eco” communities where environmental, farm and agricultural work is a focus), except that they are low cost, communal living arrangements focusing around a particular theme, generally one of self-discovery, service, and spirituality. Many if not most of these communities offer courses and lectures, and spiritual healing is is encouraged not just at the faith oriented communities but also in communities that offer shamanistic healing practices.
Directory of intentional communities: http://directory.ic.org/
Top 5 reasons to live in an intentional community: http://sunriseranch.org/journal/2010/03/top-5-reasons-to-live-in-intentional-community/
These communities can be a transitionary phase and offer spiritual growth for an individual far enough along in recovery who is able to exercise a certain amount of independence while making a meaningful contribution to the life of the community.