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wb_emerson

African-American Christian Literature

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Based on true events, What of the Ranch is the story of a group of poor, inner-city African Americans that travels from Chicago to rural Michigan to establish a Christian commune.

 

The men and women who form the community find their new surroundings present both opportunities and challenges. It is their long-awaited Promised Land, but it is also a place that is isolated and foreign.

 

This story is an intensely personal one because I grew up in the community and have just now begun to make peace with the unusual nature of my upbringing. That said, the work is in no way heavy or dark. It is simply a quiet requiem.

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Sounds like a fascinating story. We often discuss relative benefits of establishing our own communities.  Groups like the Nation of Islam often come up as potentially offering benefits over our white-male-dominated-profit-driven culture, or maybe the Nation is simply replacing it with another oppressive way of life.

 

Does The Ranch community still exist?  I get the sense that it was more like a cult rather than a desirable alternative the dominant culture.  Is this right?

 

 

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Hi, Troy:

 

Yes, the community still exists, but it is a much different place from the place I grew up in. In the early days, members pooled resources much like the early Christians in the book of Acts, having "all things common." This proved to be a flaw within the community, as the leadership mismanaged funds. Long story short, it was no utopia. Still members of the community developed ties that are still strong today. Although I wouldn't call the community a cult, there were cult-like elements in the early days. Today, members have a lot more independence, both financially and socially.

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