Monday, May 5, 2008

The Monastic Method

Acts 17 has been swirling in my mind as I prepare to share some thoughts on May 15th for a proposed Flagstaff Abbey among partner churches. Paul goes into the marketplace noticing the religiosity of the crowd and that they've built an altar to an unknown God. In his usual argumentative/persuasive fashion he helps them to understand that this unknown God has a name and that it is Jesus Christ.

As I think about the possibility for this neo-monastic community I share Paul's courage to be present in the marketplace with all of who he is. He doesn't isolate himself from the world to engage in his faith, but comes to the very center of public life to offer another explanation, an explanation that the philosophers were all to welcome to receive as they were always open to exploring new information.

Celebrating Paul's ability to live faith publicly, but differing from his Socratic method of persuasive speech, what would it look like to substitute the monastic way? And again, differing from Paul's somewhat arrogance for certainty in truth, what would it look like to enter the marketplace with all of who we are, the best of our vulnerable selves, as pursuers of Truth ourselves, as those needing to be touched just as equally by God, as fumbling listeners and fractured lugs in need of God's healing touch? What would it look like that the emphasis is less on our own convincing words, but in yielding to a way, the monastic way of hospitality and humility? Instead of worrying about having to prove "God, Jesus' whatever to the world, what of allowing the proof to be our very lives lived seeking to be transformed and converted ourselves by each other? Could the humility that we are attempting to embody through centered song, word, and silence be enough of a witness to change hearts? And most of all, OUR OWN?

Then, and only then, maybe we'll have the wisdom and courage to discern where and how we need to have a voice and where we don't.


tamie said...

There is no one who is better qualified than you to guide us in this way.

Karen Ward said...


This is a great description of our mission at the Fremont Abbey (Seattle) and Church of the Apostles as well!

Thanks for this.

I will quote you!

Blessings to you, my Flagstaff Abbey friend!