neo-monasticism – my thoughts
February 29, 2008
I joined the TGIF crowd again this morning at Brooklyn mall. Cori invited me last week, I wasn’t aware of this group until then. Roger Saner was speaking on neo-Monasticism, a topic I know absolutely nothing about, but have a lot of thoughts on lately, so I was eager so listen. Steve Hays was there as well, and left some thoughts on what Roger said, which I’m not going to repeat, it was a little early for me, so I’m not sure whether I listened so good. Roger will post some thoughts on his blog somewhere, and said he’ll try and upload the podcast as well onto ons of his blogs.
I had one question though. I struggled to see the line between neo-monasticism and the emerging conversation in Roger’s speech. Still wondering on the relation between the two…
But OK. This is my thoughts, thoughts which I’ve been pondering for a while now, and which was again triggered in the last few months when I read Blue Like Jazz. I’m not sure yet was the relationship between intentional communal living and new-monasticism might be, but I think I might be more onto the former than the latter, not sure yet.
I’ve been living in a communal setting for 5 years now, moved out end of last year. It might be communal settings we seldom recognize when talking these things in theological conversations, but this really is what it is. It was called Taaibos, and is a University residence at Tukkies. 240 guys, 7 corridors, some intentionality (making first year students part of the community – with a very positive orientation program, winning res of the year, having fun, that kind of thing) but usually a few people managing the system, and a lot sitting on the fringe, a lot like a congregation actually. But I really learned a lot form this communal experience, a lot about people, about living together, being together when things aint good, that kind of stuff.
So, why think about communal living again after 5 years? I think the general communal living system which students follow can be a great experience, and really teach you a lot, however, after 5 years I’m thinking that their might be something more. Something which won’t give you what this open communal systems gave, but maybe give something else later on in life. A more intentional group. Maybe this is similar to what the guys at, for example, nieucommunties are doing, but some things will have to differ.
When thinking communal living/neo monasticism/call it what you want, the sustainable idea is to have communities of people working or studying, with normal lives. Not devoted only to the community.
I think we need more than a religious community, it should also be a community where we develop rythms of life which will cause a sustainable lifestyle (in the psycological, physical, but also the ecological sense of the word)
It should be a place where spirituality is developed, but with a strong theological base, and a close link with tradition, or else I feel a sect or a cult coming
It should be a commited group, but a free group, since we are not working with monks who vowed their way into this community. So something like a minimal commitment, but which is kept
Yes, it should also be a missional community, but the form of mission might differ, because we have a lesser commitment, and people working and living a life that is bigger than the community
Sometimes I think I’d like to experiment with something like this, taking what we’ve learned about communal living at university, joining it with monastic, neo-monastic, intentional communal living, emerging, or whatever ideas, and seeing what developes out of this.