Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants

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Overview

When Dennis Okholm began exploring the roots of contemporary Benedictine monasticism, he quickly found that St. Benedict has as much to offer Protestants as he does Roman Catholics. In Monk Habits for Everyday People, Okholm--a professor who was raised as a Pentecostal and a Baptist--uses his profound experience with Benedictine spirituality to show how it can enrich the lives and prayer practices of Protestants.

"As a knowledgeable pastor and theologian, Dennis Okholm proves an excellent guide. . . . This ...

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Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants

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Overview

When Dennis Okholm began exploring the roots of contemporary Benedictine monasticism, he quickly found that St. Benedict has as much to offer Protestants as he does Roman Catholics. In Monk Habits for Everyday People, Okholm--a professor who was raised as a Pentecostal and a Baptist--uses his profound experience with Benedictine spirituality to show how it can enrich the lives and prayer practices of Protestants.

"As a knowledgeable pastor and theologian, Dennis Okholm proves an excellent guide. . . . This memoir, gentle in tone and often humorous, is nonetheless full of challenges to Protestant comfort zones. . . . Okholm reminds us that for all Christians, good spiritual habits are good for our spiritual health; that 'scripture is the original rule'; and that Christ is the point of it all, our true beginning and our end."
--Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk (from the foreword)

"Twenty years in the making, Dennis Okholm's Monk Habits is the perfect introduction to Benedictine spirituality for the earnest Protestant believer. In taking us on his own journey, he invites to discover Benedict of Nursia and Benedict's myriad faithful followers over fifteen centuries. This represents an important bridge between evangelicalism and Catholicism. Highly recommended."
--Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

"The practices of Benedictine monasticism have several times brought revitalization and spiritual focus back to the worldwide church at large. In this informative and irenic book, Dennis Okholm explains how the 'rule' of Benedict did the same for him personally as an evangelical professor and Presbyterian minister. The book's winsome portrait of the Benedictines--and, through their monastic practices, of Christ--makes for a spiritual feast. The historically minded will also benefit from Okholm's careful discussion of why more Protestants should pay greater heed to the Benedictine life."
--Mark A. Noll, coauthor of Is the Reformation Over? An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Catholicism

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Readers might not think that poverty, chastity and obedience would be attractive to the common Protestant, but Okholm, a theology professor at Azusa Pacific University, will make them think twice. Although he is a Presbyterian, Okholm is comfortable with Catholicism and realistic about the benefits and burdens of both denominations. He finds in Benedictine monasticism a helpful path to holiness, and he avoids idealizing or romanticizing the monastic life. This is why his work succeeds as a guide for the common Christian. Okholm is wise to point out that St. Benedict's Rule, the text upon which his vision of monastic life is built, is both challenging and down-to-earth. The author invites readers to integrate some monastic practices into their daily lives and stresses that this does not involve cloistering themselves-these practices are both ordinary and sacred. He also provides an excellent example for Catholics and Protestants alike to dig deeply into the Christian tradition and find how both can spiritually benefit from the other. Okholm provides a "Historical Afterword" to address why Protestants initially rejected the monastic life. This is a fascinating and, considering its brevity, surprisingly detailed overview that readers should not pass up. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

The last ten years have seen unusual gestures toward rapprochement between traditional adversaries within the Christian tradition-namely, evangelicals and Roman Catholics. More and more conservative Christians concede that they have something to learn from the Pope's church; in this brief but striking book, theology professor Okholm (Azusa Pacific Univ.) finds and celebrates the values of humility, hospitality, stability, and balance. Most of all, perhaps, and most instructive for Catholics as well as his primary evangelical audience, he sees the power of monasticism, even now, to transform the world, "to function as a 'caution' sign . . . to guide our relationship with today's culture." For most collections.


—Graham Christian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587431852
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 640,031
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis L. Okholm (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of theology at Azusa Pacific University and the coauthor of A Family of Faith: An Introduction to Evangelical Christianity.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. What's a Good (Protestant Evangelical) Boy Doin' in a Monastery?
2. Why Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants?
3. Learning to Listen
4. Poverty: Sharing the Goods
5. Obedience: Objectifying Providence
6. Humility: Letting Go of the Mask
7. Hospitality: The Guest as Christ
8. Stability: Staying Put to Get Somewhere
9. Balance: God in Everything
10. To Change the World!
Afterword: Why the Protestant Reformers Opposed Monasticism
Suggested Reading
Suggestions for Practicing Benedictine Spirituality
Notes
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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    A different look at Benedictine Spirituality

    Dennis Okholm's book casts a different light on Benedictine Spirituality. Approaching the ideas of the Rule of Benedict from a Protestant point of view, we learn from Okholm that everyone, not just those of the Catholic tradition, can apply the lessons from Benedict's rule in their own life. Okholm encourages and challenges readers to find their own "monastic spark." However, in doing that, the author does not encourage the reader to depart from their daily life; simply, instead, Okholm suggests we find ways within our life to make room for living in a more Benedictine fashion. Balance in life between work and prayer, living humbly, living our life without arrogance, keeping grounded and stable in our environment, and offering the gift of hospitality in our everyday lives are all covered in this text. Okholm is easy to read, easy to understand, and broadens our understanding of Benedictine monastic life and living according to the Rule of St. Benedict.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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