A New Kind of Christian...community?

Last night we met at Carol Street Cafe in Cabbage Town to discuss a phenomenon being labeled, "The New Monasticism." (See Troy's earlier post for links to these topics in Christianity Today and Christian Century. We were joined by Prof. Steve Hayner of Columbia Theological Seminary. Having read the pertinent articles and clustered into three smaller groups, Dr. Hayner asked us to reflect on the following question: How new is the New monasticism? I can only speak on behalf of the group I participated in, but this question fueled our night's discussion wonderfully.

Our group raised many further questions about authenticity, the nature of community in general, a preferential option for the poor, racial reconciliation, generational differences and issues involving established denominationalism. We asked more questions than we had answers, but that is the nature of dialogue. For me, the New Monasticism slips when its adherents fail to recognize where they fit within the Church catholic through the centuries. Nevertheless, it seems that some of the communities mentioned in the articles are trying to connect with other, more established monastic orders. I remain hopeful and intrigued by such manifestations of Christian community. Perhaps, like the first monastic communities, such assemblies will be preservers of the faith until such a time that the Church again finds her voice in a world crying for meaningfulness. We shall see.

Okay, so for those of you who participated (or for those of you who missed last night's meeting but still want to weigh-in on the discussion), how do you answer Dr. Hayner's question? Are these fledgling communities harbingers of a new way of being Christ followers entirely? What resemblance to they bear to the different monastic communities of the past and present? How might such groups materialize in the suburbs, if at all? Feel free to weigh in on these, or any other questions relating to community. Peace.

BTW: We will not be meeting in December. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you all on the last Tuesday of January.

1 Responses to “A New Kind of Christian...community?”

  1. # Blogger Thomas Muse

    Thanks for the post. Great discussion last Tuesday. Really edifying.

    I resonate with the comment on seeing "new monastics" as part of the church catholic. Frankly, we all do better when we see our part is a piece of the whole - the church begun and being built by Christ- until our Father brings things to a new beginning.

    Until that time, we serve others best and honor Him most by avoiding the "I´m of Apollos/I´m of Paul" competitive digression. There´s simply too much to do and no reason to waste on in-fighting.

    Christ loves our neighbors and enemies- certainly this encompasses those with whom we strike a dissonant chord in what may be an otherwise I, IV, V progression. Isn´t it best to be about loving those whom He loves?
    And, may the basin and the towel be the tools of our new life-trade.

    God bless the "new monastics" and God bless the faithful urbanite and suburbanite, too. The gospel extends beyond our preferences and biases. May our love for others do the same.  

Post a Comment

About Us

You're a part of a bigger conversation, a bigger story of God's creation unfolding and realizing it's Creator's dreams in the clue of Jesus. Gather monthly to re-imagine how we can best participate locally in this conversation, story, dreams. This is an Emergent Cohort meeting to flesh out four commitments: to God in the way of Jesus, to the Church in all its Forms, to God's World, and to One Another. This is a theological conversation for any practitioners in the way of Jesus.

What is Emergent?

If you are interested in learning more about the larger movement we are a local expression of, visit Emergent Village.