This site is about the practical steps and struggles that we postmodern pilgrims must go through on our journey toward a new monasticism. In telling of my personal journey towards a new monasticism (or re-monking my life) i hope to encourage others who desire to be new monastics/postmodern monks, but simply don't know where to start or how to practically apply the principles of new monasticism to their lives. To be honest, I live far from the ideal myself at this point, but my sights are set! It's where i'm heading.
There are numerous examples of those who have already "re-monked" including the full-time intercessory missionaries at IHOP in Kansas City, the Northumbria Community in the UK, The Simple Way in the heart of the Philadelphia, PA, the Rutba House in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Jesus Abbey in the mountains of Korea, and the Amish community far and wide just to mention a few. However, we are not there...but we want to be.
We are deeply inspired by those who have gone before us and pointed the way toward a new monastic lifestyle in the 21st century and honor them as forerunners. They have definitely provoked a sort-of Godly jealousy that is serving to "push us out of the nest". We also look to the early church fathers in the Middle East and North Africa during the 1st to 4th centuries as well as the CelticChurch in the British Isles from the 5th to 9th centuries. Armed with rich resources, two thousand years of church history and a heavenly cloud cheering us on, we hope to be a part of the prophetic people that God is raising up in these last days. We want to RE-Monk. Would you join us? We would love the company and encouragement along the way!
Background: Understanding New Monasticism or "Remonks"
What we are after here is a re-monking of the church. Evangelicals, charismatics, and Catholics alike are waking up to the fact that we are living in a post-Christian West. With very little distinction between the church and the ungodly, Father is raising up a prophetic people centered in prayer, rooted in the ancient faith, grounded in the Holy Scriptures, committed to simplicity and intentional community, and the ministry of justice to the lost, poor and oppressed. Much like our monastic predecessors, who set themselves apart for loving God and being available to serve His purpose, God is calling forth new-Nazarites, to serve as sign posts pointing the church back to devotion and lives lived on the cross.
Truth be told, we live in a neo-pagan nation. For the first time in our nation's history a Biblically illiterate generation arises seeking spirituality not religion, and relationship in place of institution. The seeker sensitive, culturally relevant, politically charged, contagious Christianity, that we have been force-fed over the past few decades is dying on the vine, and in the Church's recent quest to become relevant to its present culture, she has actually become more irrelevant than she ever has been before.
It is in this foreboding reality that the God's Spirit is sovereignly moving to bring his Church back to wholeness, unity, and maturity in order that the world might know that the Father sent Jesus! It is comforting to know, despite the gloomy forecast and condition of the Church in our nation, that God is never left without a witness, because it is ultimately He who desires the worship of future generations in every nation! Therefore, we must be about the task of "re-monking the church" as Chris Armstrong, professor of Church History at Bethel seminary and contributor to Christianity Today penned in 2007.
Mark Noll, professor of Christian history at Notre Dame notes, “For over a millennium, in the centuries between the reign of Constantine and the Protestant Reformation, almost everything in the church that approached the highest, noblest, and truest ideals of the gospel was done either by those who had chosen the monastic way or by those who had been inspired in their Christian life by the monks.” In light of this statement and the new dark ages that seem to be upon us, it would be wise for us to not only heed the direction of the Spirit as he guides us into a new way of doing old things, but also learn from those "devoted ones" whom have gone before us and set the world aflame by their monastic example.
Are we to quit our jobs, don hooded habits and learn Gregorian chant in order to become a new-monk? No, we are not after an outward expression of any particular catholic order, rather we are in pursuit of monastic heart; a heart given to devotion to Christ and His people. Sometime in history, when the Church finds itself in desperate need of repentance, God raises up a remnant who speak to the nominal by the lives they live in fellowship with the tripartite God, thus calling the nominal by sheer example, to live the extraordinary life of a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
As new monastics, we will still have to mow the grass, pay the bills, go to work, and feed our families, but we will re-focus our lives to live more simply and to love more deeply. For some, this will call for drastic change, while others may already be on the path while simply lacking language for their new found freedom. Most, however, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage towards a new monasticism, will begin to make small Spirit-led changes in their daily lives that will snowball over time to make for a radical lifestyle of purity and witness reminiscent of someone who believes that the Sermon on the Mount is not just an ideal, but rather a manual for the normal Christian life.
In the near future, my plan is to incorporate our bliturgy site with weekly updates, and from there, Lord willing, press into a daily format.Currently, I have not had the time to focus on this as we are trying to build a base of readers so that the bliturgy will be worth while. For now, i will leave the beta version up at http://bliturgy.blogspot.com/ as an example of things to come! Blessings and thanks for stopping by.
In the Lion, In the Lamb,
'...the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has... in common... a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ. I think it is time to gather people together to do this...'