It's "a vision so old it looks new," writes Wilson-Hartgrove, a 20-something North Carolina pastor who is part of New Monasticism.New Monastics, he says, are a loosely confederated group of Christians who choose to live in intentional communities, often in blighted areas.It's age-old monasticism, but with new twists: some practitioners are celibate singles, but many others are married with children; some communities hold all goods in common and pool their economic resources, while others retain individual ownership.The book's more coherent and invigorating second half explores the marks of New Monasticism, including geographic relocation, redistribution of wealth, ecumenism, peacemaking and submission to the church.These chapters, which offer a treasure trove of concrete examples and stories of real communities that practice these values, eclipse the book's unfocused first half, which mires down in broad descriptions of American Christianity's complex problems and an obligatory dose of monastic history.Readers who are serious about putting New Monastic ideas into practice may want to skip the first 75 pages in favor of life-changing practices like relational tithing (maintaining no more than one degree of separation between the giver of charity and its receiver).(May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today's Churchby Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
New Monasticism is a growing movement of committed Christians who are recovering the radical discipleship of monasticism and unearthing a fresh expression of Christianity in America. It's not centered in a traditional monastery--many New Monastics are married with children--but instead its members live radically, settling in abandoned sections of society, committing to community, sharing incomes, serving the poor, and practicing spiritual disciplines.
New Monasticism by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove offers an insider's perspective into the life of the New Monastics and shows how this movement is dependent on the church for stability, diversity, and structure. A must-read for New Monastics or those considering joining the movement, it will also appeal to pastors, leaders, those interested in the emerging church, and 20- and 30-somethings searching for new ways to be Christian.
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Meet the Author
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (MDiv, Duke University Divinity School) is a leader of the new monastic movement and cofounded the Rutba House community in Durham, North Carolina. An associate minister at St. John's Baptist Church in Durham, he is also the coordinator of the School for Conversion, a partnership among new monastic communities for alternative theological education. He is the author of To Baghdad and Beyond and Inhabiting the Church. Visit his website at www.jonathanwilsonhartgrove.com.
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When I first opened this book and started reading, it sounded promising. However, the further I read the less impressed I was. As you continue through the book, you read many examples and stories. They are interesting and sometimes informative, but the author does not bring the stories together very well into a single point for the chapter. Several chapters seem to be just a collection of stories with a salting of additional words. The section on the history was very disappointing with stories relating to monasticism, but not woven together in the chapter, so at the end you get a jumble of stories and admission of the author that he's no historian and wishes he had time to mention even more people. The only portion that I found interesting were the last two chapters, but they don't make up for slogging through the rest of the book. I hate to say it, but I would avoid this book, or if you really wanted, check it out from the library and read the last two chapters.