Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The New Monasticism

I have been reading Shane Claiborne's book "The Irresistible Revolution" and it makes some great points, provides some great quotes and seriously challenges our North American style of Christianity. He (that's his picture to the right - a little crazy looking don't your agree? But that's his "promo" picture off his website!) lives in "community" in a reclaimed abandoned house in a very poor area of North Philadelphia. His community life would be like life on a commune (for those of you older than about 40) except with only 6 or 7 living in the house. They share their resources, grow their own food (or as much of it as possible) and live among the poor. The term "New Monasticism" would be the phrase that best describes what they are doing there and it is happening in many places across North America.

Now a few quotes:

I gave up Christianity in order to follow Jesus. What does it really look like to follow Jesus? Quotes Soren Kierkegaard: "The Bible is very easy to understand,. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly … Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close."

Catholic Bishop Dom Helder Camara: “When I fed the hungry they called me a saint. When I asked why people are hungry, they called me a communist.”

Charity wins awards and applause, but joining the poor gets you killed. People do not get crucified for charity. People are crucified for living out a love that disrupts the social order, that calls forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping poor people. People are crucified for joining them. 129

Community is what we are created for. We are made in the image of a God who is community – a plurality of oneness. Jesus lived and modeled community with his little band of disciples. He always sent them out in pairs and the early church is the story of a people who were together and were of one heart and mind sharing all in common. The story ends with a vision of the new community in the book of revelation where the city of God is dressed beautifully for her lover this community called the New Jerusalem.
But that doesn’t mean community is easy – for everything in this world tries to pull us away from community. Pushes us to choose ourselves over others to choose independence over interdependence, to choose great things over small things, to choose going fast alone over going far together. 135

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