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 monasterymany New Monastics are married with childrenbut 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.
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)|
About 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.
Table of Contents
1. Reading the Signs of the Times2. Seeing Signs of Something New3. A Vision So Old It Looks New 4. God's Plan to Save the World Through a People5. Relocation and Renewal6. Daily Bread and Forgiven Debts7. A New Peace Corps8. A Culture of Grace and Truth9. Why New Monastics Need the Church
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
New Monasticism provided a "insiders perspective" into a movement within the North American Christian church. Wilson-Hartgrove provides less of a memoir and more of a introduction to this monastic movement: stating its history, development, and theology. It is a easy to read book for anyone curious into this movement, however will be quickly outdated as it is written for the present. I would recommend reading Shane Claiborne's "The Irresistible Revolution" first, and then checking this book out from your local library.
Monasticism conjures up images of monks quietly moving through dark monasteries, sequestered from the ¿real¿ world as they seek God¿s will through meditation, prayer and communal living. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove brings fresh perspective to the age-old concept of living in Christian community in "New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today¿s Church". Starting with a strong historical foundation, the author explores ancient concepts of community through an informative study of the early church at Antioch, as well as more contemporary figures in the monastic movement such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, St. Benedict, and Mother Teresa.This book forced me to honestly examine the Bible¿s radical ideas and how its teachings should impact my choices as a 21st Century American. Wilson-Hartgrove begins with the convincing concept, beginning with Genesis and moving through Biblical history, that God¿s plan to save the world was not one person at a time, but through a people. From this premise, he boldly states, ¿If the Bible is a story about God¿s plan to save the world through a people, then my salvation and sanctification depend on finding my true home with God¿s people. Apart from the story of this people, I can¿t have a relationship with God. Without the church, there¿s no chance of becoming holy.¿The focus of the book then shifts to an examination of the movement¿s current marks of distinction including: sharing economic resources; geographical proximity to other community members; peacemaking; and the active pursuit of ¿just reconciliation¿. While Wilson-Hartgrove shares intimate details of his own monastic experiences and gives an abundance of examples of practical community living from other groups, he wisely avoids prescribing a specific formula for an ascetic, communal-driven lifestyle. Instead, he challenges his readers to shift their own paradigms and allows them to imagine life from a Kingdom perspective. The author writes beautifully of his experiences with relocation, Earth¿s scarcity versus God¿s abundance, what it means to be a peacemaker in our war-ravaged culture, and how to live with others in a ¿culture of grace and truth.¿This little gem covers a lot of ground, delving into the heart of Jesus¿ mission to live in relationship with others. When you pick up "New Monasticism", be prepared to have your old ways of thinking challenged and re-worked, for you may find yourself wondering how to become a more integral part of God¿s ¿peculiar people¿.
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)It's no secret to CCLaP's regulars that I have recently started reading and reviewing more nonfiction here regarding religious topics; ironic, I know, given that I myself am an atheist and have no plans on changing my beliefs anytime soon*. It's a fact, though, that the subject deeply informs and influences almost every other aspect of American life, with overwhelming data on the subject that simply can't be denied: for example, that a whopping 92 percent of all Americans believe in some form of "higher power," according to a recent major study by Pew. And this is an especially fascinating time to explore the subject of faith and spirituality in America, I think, because it's such a transitional time that is erasing so many assumptions we've had for a hundred years now, ever since the initial birth and then rise of evangelism/fundamentalism in the early 20th century: the assumption that you must be politically conservative to be religiously pious, the assumption that you must be afraid of modernity and change, even basic assumptions over what defines a "one true faith," or indeed if even organized churches are needed anymore in these Web 2.0, New Age, "pick-and-choose your faith" times. And these are all interesting subjects, no matter what your own personal religious beliefs are, and understanding these subjects help all of us understand the US in a better way than before.For example, one of the big ethical issues being debated among the faithful in America these days is that of consumerism and commercialism, and how the conservative evangelical groups that have wielded so much power throughout the '00s are to blame for a huge part of why things have become such a mess: how their cozying up to the Bush administration, who in turn cozied up to the corporate world, eventually formed an entire dark culture of runaway consumerism that has gotten completely out of control. These fundamentalist churches have profoundly failed the very Christians they purport to represent, the argument goes, precisely by not standing up to this conservative corporate collusion; that as long as the Bushists in charge were willing to support such cherrypicked fundamentalist issues as abortion-banning and public censorship, these evangelical church leaders were unwilling to tell their congregations to reign in their spending, to concentrate once again on their families and personal relationships, to stop worshipping the false idols of teenage slut-pop and reality television. (My God, the most popular show on television is even called "American Idol;" does it get any more sacrilegious than that?) There are a growing amount of religious Americans who here at the end of the Bush years have finally had their fill of it all; they are tired of overspending, tired of being part of the runaway consumerist culture that has mostly defined the US over the last ten years, tired of the meaningless worship of pop-culture that has led to a trillion-dollar Hollywood industry, and are re-examining the very foundations of the institutions they belong to in order to find an alternative to it all.And see, when I first noticed and picked up Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's slim book New Monasticism: What Is Has to Say to Today's Church, I thought that this was what it was going to be all about -- a practical guide on how to be more monk-like in one's everyday life, even while living in the middle of an out-of-control consumerist culture, even while married and with a white-collar job and owning a house and all the other things that come with most middle-class people's lives. However, it turns out that this is not what the term "New Monasticism" means within the Christian community, although it was difficult to figure out what exactly it does mean, or at least just from
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.