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Category Archives: Monasticism

The new monasticism revisited

Over three years ago I posted about the then still somewhat new movement known as “the new monasticism.” At the time I was pretty enthusiastic about the helpfulness of both this label and movement. Nowadays I’m less enthused, not, perhaps about the actual work that many of these communities are doing (after all I’m still […]

Acedia and Visual Media

So my latest theological–and somewhat personal–fascination has been with the concept of acedia, or as it is catalogued in the list of deadly sins, sloth. There is little question in my mind that acedia is the primary bane of my existence. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of worthwhile pursuits that I feel interested […]

Benedictine Community and Anabaptist Ecclesiology

Anabaptism is unique among all ecclesial frames for reference derived from the Reformation in many ways, one of which involves its Catholic roots and specifically Benedictine roots. Unlike Luther the Augustinian, Calvin the lawyer, or Zwingli the Christian humanist, the Anabaptist tradition arose largely in the soil of the Benedictine tradition. This is seen most […]

Obedience, Selfhood, and Solidarity

I’ve commented recently on the monastic vow of stability and the ways in which is may serve as one means of resistance to capitalism which is an especially appropriate ecclesial practice for affluent people in the West.  A commitment to stability, staying in one place, is of course quite an oddity if not a scandal in […]

On the Possibility of Resisting Capitalism

In recent posts there have been some good questions raised about the nature of Christian social critique, particularly of capitalism and how authentic theological action can take place in the face of the capitalist order.  I’ve argued on the one hand that Christians should be ideologically opposed to capitalism on theological grounds.  I’ve likewise argued […]

Exploring the Rule of Benedict §4: Contemporary Protestant Approriations of the Benedictine Tradition

In the last number of years, there are a variety of different protestant communities and churches that have come together in ways that resemble and glean from the Benedictine way. This movement has come to be known as the “New Monasticism”. Throughout the United States and the United Kingdom a variety of different monastic-style communities […]

Exploring the Rule of Benedict §3: Distinctives and Contributions of the Benedictine Tradition

While the spirituality of the Rule of Benedict is multifaceted, there are two basic principles of Benedictine spirituality that have been identified by the followers of Saint Benedict. The first is that the divine presence is everywhere. This is emphasized throughout the Rule of Benedict, both in that God sees all things, and that because […]

Exploring the Rule of Benedict §2: Biblical Sources and Trajectories of the Rule

The Rule of Benedict is saturated throughout with biblical quotations and allusions. Like many of the theological and spiritual writings of the premodern era (and distinctly unlike many of those in the modern era), Benedict does not so much cite proof texts of Scripture in support of his assertions as he simply speaks through scripture. […]

Exploring the Rule of Benedict §1: Historical Backgrounds of the Rule

While the Rule of Benedict itself does not name its author, all historical sources identify the author as Benedict of Nursia (ca. 480–543). The main sources we have about the life of Benedict are the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, the first monk to become pope, and a great admirer of Benedict. The Rule has […]

Exploring the Rule of Benedict: Introduction

The following series of posts is based on my exploration of the Rule of Saint Benedict.  Being part of a church which falls under the rubric of the “New Monasticism“, naturally an exploration of the key literature of the monastic movements is important to me.  Regardless of ecclesial location, however I think all Christians have much to […]

A Very Basic Introduction to the Rule of Benedict

Background: While the RB itself does not name its author in any way, all historical sources identify the author as Benedict of Nursia (ca. 480–543). The main source we have about the life of Benedict are the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, the first monk to become pope, and a great admirer of Benedict. The […]

The Christian Intellectual Life

Much ink has been spilt over the question of what it might mean to be a Christian intellectual.  Often such books are either laments concerning the anti-intellectualism in the church or apologetic pleas to the church that intellectualism, or “the life of the mind” be viewed as a valid Christian practice.  Whatever the book or article, there […]

Tragedy for The Simple Way

As some of you might have heard, there was recently a 7 alarm fire in Philadelphia which decimated the Kensington neighborhood where the intentional Christian community, The Simple Way is located.  Many familes have been displaced and many other have lost all of their belongings.  Please be in prayer for this community. Here is the […]

American Christianity and Vows of Stability

I’ve written previously on my own ecclesial location within the New Monasticism, which is a movement of sorts among protestants today who are seeking to re-appropriate the monastic traditions in moving towards different forms of intentional community.  One of the central elements of my own congregation’s form of life together involves a practice closely akin to […]

New Monks, New Friars

As some of you all know I am part of a church that is among those in the movement known as the New Monasticism. It consists largely of small churches across the United States whose members live in close geographical proximity to one another, seek to relocate to the abandoned places of the empire, nurture […]

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