The Role of Conversion Experiences in Group Commitment: An Ethnography of the jonah House Community in Baltimore, Maryland
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Jonah House calls itself a faith based resistance community. Essentially this means that the members of Jonah House are engaged in an active process of discerning how to best follow Christ. Throughout this paper I will explain how conversion or transforming experiences brought the members of jonah House to this community and how this on-going process works to keeps them here and allows them to continue to do acts of civil resistance. The experiences will often be rellgious in origin but with profound psychological and sociological implications. I will explore how the experiences of doing active resistance are not only the result of a transformation of mind and spirit but also an aid to the continued conversion of the community. I will also demonstrate how the shared life of community provides stamina to the people who live at jonah House, giving them the strength to continue living out the Gospels as they perceive them. That is to say, I will show how these daily activities serve to reinforce the lifestyle adjustments from mainstream USA to a life of community and resistance.