Monday, January 16, 2006

the 'new monasticism'

In the little Parkdale house they share, two young families sit down to dinner — a scene that would be completely ordinary were it not for the reasons they live together.

There's a comfortable feeling as the parents and children link hands and begin their meal with a prayer. Books on the side table reveal a bit about their interests: Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book on living in a community, and The Political Theology of Paul. That's St. Paul.

Though it doesn't look like it, these two married couples — with their babies, donated furniture and Holly the dog — are living what they call the "new monasticism."

Read the whole thing here.

What do you think of this? It sounds a little bit Little Gidding-esque. The emphasis of the "New Monastics" on pacifism annoys me. Not because pacifism itself annoys me, but rather the emphasis does. As though pacifism were an unambiguously essential part of the Christian tradition. This also annoys me about Stanley Hauerwas, as many (especially MM) know.


J-Tron said...

That's a really interesting approach that they take to communal living. I don't know that I feel comfortable calling it monasticism. But it is an attempt being made to live faithfully in community. I don't think it would work for everyone. But in this day and age, in a culture where so much of what the gospel rejects has become ubiquitous, I find it kind of refreshing that there are folks out there who are taking radical steps towards building authentic Christian communities.

Becca said...

Thank you for posting this ... this "new monasticism" (really "new community" - a throw back to the 60's and 70's Christian communities) is certainly something the established church needs to have a perspective - a well-thought-through perspective - on. I appreciate their desire to live a whole-hearted Christianity. Like you, however, I am seriously concerned that the defining issue seems to be pacificism (with money in second place). I look for a balance in their theology and lifestyles (but they may think that means compromise).

MM said...

Poor Stanley! He loves this stuff. He is a pacifict to prevent his poor hot temper from getting him into too much trouble. He KNOWS its an indulgence. I love Stanley second only to Fr. WB among current theologians, probably.

... and its a misnomer to call this intentional family life "monasticism"- monasticism refers to the monadic vocation of the person who lives alone, in community with others who are also intrinsically alone with God. No good monastic would identify their community as an alternative "family" either- by definition, monastics have renounced the familal sort of community for life that is radically isolated in its profound, unmediated orientation towards Christ.

But I do like it...

fantley. said...


Here is the blog of the Episcopalian M.Div that decided to become a hooker after attending Yale Divinity.