building community as reality tv

In a recent e-mail to friends, I said: "Here at the Novitiate House we're also just starting to move past the polite phase and beginning to share our real selves and build community. " One of my friends responded: "How about pitching your current set-up to MTV?." Real World ... Novitiate!

If memory serves me, the Real World tagline is something like "When people stop being polite and start getting real." It's almost 2 months that I've been living in the Novitiate House, and I have to admit periodically I have thought it would make interesting television. Not the I have ANY interest in being subject to such an experience. And as you've probably noticed, I don't even share such experiences here on the blog. (Not being in the habit of sharing details of other people's lives.)

Trust me, there are lots of experiences I could share. It has nothing to do with the specific people with whom I am living. It's just that if you put 5 people in the same house 24 hours a day, days on end .... little things become big things. People's annoying habits come to the forefront - including your own. There is conflict, there is resolution. It would probably make good reality tv.

But really, it's part of building community.

I just stayed up WAY TOO LATE with one of my fellow novices watching The Monastery on tv. It's not a Novitiate - it's a group of guys in transition who spend 40 days in a monastery. But it is interesting television, and tonight at least highlighted some of what it's all about. Being open and honest. Building bridges. Compromise. Dialogue. And ocassionally, mischief. Definitely worth a watch ...

But for now ... BED! Morning prayer is at 7am!


seeking_something said...

That's the part of novitiate that I'm itching to explore. I've been told that it can get pretty stressful. I'm the laid-back type and I'm thinking, "I bet I can handle that challenge." So I look forward to that adventure and surprise.

Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...

The "Real World" reaction to novitiate life seems pretty common... my classmates and I would occasionally joke that our novitiate should make a good "Real World" scenario, and I've heard other Jesuits say the same of their novitiate experience. In many ways, religious life is more intensely "real" than group living in a secular context. Before I entered the Society, I assumed I knew something what community life would be like on the basis of my prior experiences having roommates and housemates in college and law school. I quickly realized that I was wrong, and the process of learning just how wrong I was would be as grace-filled as it was challenging. Please know of my continued prayers for you and the rest of the CSJP novitiate community. Pax,


great sandwich! said...

I'm totally addicted to The Monastery, as you know. FYI-after the first five episodes with the guys, it switches to a women's community in Iowa.

Garpu said...

I really hope they put "The Monastery" out on DVD, or it gets put on itunes, because I don't get TLC. I've heard a ton of good things about it.