One of the things I found as I was wandering around the parking lot was a really cool looking bus. It looked like something Ken Kesey would drive only without the paint and swirls. It was a double decker type bus that looked completely custom. As I got closer, I noticed people walking in one door and out another. Hmmm, I thought. Something like this at a Dead show could be anything. Everyone looked sober going in and coming out, I didn’t see anything weird in the windows and I didn’t see money changing hands.
Curiosity got the better of me and I walked up to the bus. Stepping in was like walking into another world. Everything was dark wood and cushy seats. It definitely had that hand-crafted look on the inside. There was an older gent sitting at a little dinette table talking to another person walking down the narrow aisle. The bus was built over two years by taking a 1940’s bus and building it onto a 1950’s bus, giving it its unique custom look. It also slept 22 people. Really?? Wow.
As I continued down the aisle, I noticed beautiful stained glass on the ceiling and on the bathroom door. There was a narrow staircase up to sleeping quarters over the driver’s area. The benches around the dinette looked like they would slide out and make more beds. Funny thing about this bus, though, is that even though it was a bus, it didn’t feel claustrophobic at all. It felt quite comfortable, in fact, even with all the people walking around and ogling the interior.
I walked a little further down and found three people sitting and cleaning/prepping various greens for a salad. They were talking to visitors about who they were and where they were from. They are members of a group that calls themselves the Twelve Tribes. They live in communes around the country and live their lives according to Acts 2:42-46. Well, they follow all the commandments and covenants of the Bible according to their website, but one of the ladies talking mentioned Acts specifically. This particular group of people came up from Chattanooga, TN.
They seemed very content and open about their lifestyle, talking to curious onlookers about what they do and believe. Honestly, the first thing that came to my mind was “cult” but as I stood there looking around, I realized that “cult” wasn’t the right word. “Community” and “extended family” seemed to fit much better. They participate in the world and take care of eachother. They pay taxes, they work according to their gifts (teachers teach their children, gardeners grow food for everyone, carpenters build their homes) and they have a cafe in Chattanooga that also helps to make money for the group. The Twelve Tribes has been around for decades and has “survived” (if that’s the right word) all the changes our country has been through by following their beliefs according to Scripture.
I found that to be admirable. Plus, they built this really cool bus that had a nicer, if much smaller, kitchen than we have.