Friday, February 25, 2011

Marks of a New Monasticism

Hosting Shane Claiborne at Drew this week was our second in a series of Prophetic Leaders on Campus, and the third year of our Prophetic Leaders in Residence program made possible by a grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund and presented by Communities of Shalom.

The purpose of the 3-year grant from Jessie Ball DuPont is to send Drew into world and bring the world to Drew.  Which we do by sending students out to Shalom Zones and prophetic ministry sites during the summer; and bringing prophetic leaders to campus during the year. 
http://communitiesofshalom.org/Prophetic_Leaders_2010.pdf
 
Shane Claiborne is a Christian Activist, Global Peacemaker, popular writer and speaker, and Urban Monk (well, I’m not exactly sure about the urban monk identity given that Shane is now engaged)…but in neo-monasticism, you don’t have to remain single, nor do you have to be married to be a whole person, called and chosen as the beloved of God.

I first met Shane 10 years ago at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina….at an Evangelism Conference where Len Sweet, Shane and I were speaking.  I was impressed then, as well as now, with his gift of prophetic imagination and anointing; and his call for the Church to be resurrected. 

A number of years ago, when I tried to get my teenage daughter to read Christian books, I couldn’t find any she would read at the time. I took a chance and bought her The Irresistible Revolution.  She couldn’t resist its message or its author, and so I bought her Jesus for President before the last election. (She told me Shane spoke at her college last year; she introduced herself, and told me Shane remembered me as the Methodist that prayed with icons…. Which I took as a compliment.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfLdVazh33E

Shane studied sociology with Professor Tony Campolo at Eastern University, theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Compassion with Mother Teresa at the University of the Streets in Calcultta.  He is a Founding member of The Simple Way—a prototype in a radical grassroots movement within the North American church which often is referred to as a “new monasticism” about which he will speak about tonight.

The notion of “neo-monasticism” was developed by Jonathan Wilson in his 1998 book called Living Faithfully in a Fragmented World.[3] It is inspired by the vision of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said in 1935: “the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ”[4]
                                   
Shane's is one of the voices in the new monastic movement, of which The Simple Way is but one example.  He is the author of “The Irresistible Revolution”, “Jesus for President”,  "Iraq Journal", "Follow Me to Freedom", "Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers", and "Liturgies for Ordinary Radicals."

His Prophetic Leadership presentation at Drew this week on "Resurrecting Church" highlighted the so-called "12 Marks of New Monasticism", namely:


1.  Relocation to the abandoned places of Empire.
2.  Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us.
3.  Hospitality to the stranger.
4.  Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation.
5.  Humble submission to Chirst’s body, the church.
6.  Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate.
7.  Nurturing common life among members of intentional community.
8.  Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children.
9.  Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life.
10.  Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economics.
11.  Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18.
12.  Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life.


These 12 Marks, developed by participants in the movement, are published in “School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism” edited by The Rutba House.