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7/25/2006

MAKING MONKS

Recently friends from a major publisher of Sunday school curriculum called me. They were researching trends in spiritual formation, they said, and they thought I might help them.

After a few warm-up questions, they got to the heart of the matter: “What would you recommend for spiritual formation in our time?”

“The monastery,” I said.

There was a long pause.

“I’m serious,” I said.

Another long pause. “You’re going to have to unpack that for us,” they finally said.

“It’s a proven model,” I pointed out, “a model that includes everything we know brings about transformation. What would happen to your life” (I was now turning the question on them) “if you lived in close geographical community and relationship with other people; if you lived in submission to authority; if you practiced silence and simplicity and discipline; if you regularly read the Bible and prayed and meditated on what you read; if you made study part of your life; and if you worked hard in some daily occupation, seeing your labor as full of dignity and offering it to God?”

“But not everyone can move into a monastery,” they said. True, but...

Read the rest.

10 Comments:

Anonymous jonathan said...

link is not working. I want to read the rest!

7/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Doh!

Fixed now.

Thanks for the heads up.

7/25/2006  
Blogger Scooby said...

Very interesting take. I actually just finished a YWAM Discipleship Training School. It was just the ticket for me to get out of the rat race rut and recenter on God. While I know I now have to return to living in the "real world" I have been taught the skills to live out a life of discipline and devotion.

7/25/2006  
Blogger euphrony said...

For an in-depth study on what it means to live like this, I would recommend reading Richard Foster's book Celebration of Discipline. It is a very good book that talks about the need for simplicity, meditation, prayer, study, even fasting (gasp). If you think some of these are "simple" subjects, not needing quite that much discussion, then consider that Foster found them complex enough that he wrote another entire book on simplicity. It is a very good study that I would recommend to anyone. It made me stop and think.

7/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Like that book too, but not everything he has to say about "worship." Other than that, a very good book. Very good.

Hey, scooby, looks like you're from my neck of the woods. How'd you find the blog?

SG

7/25/2006  
Blogger euphrony said...

Shaun, I would agree that I disagree with Foster at times. But, at the very least, the book makes you think about where you stand and what you do (and if you do anything). I'm not a big book reader, at least not Christian commentary-type books, because I do better at formulating my own thoughts through direct Biblical study than I do at digesting the written thoughts of others on a subject. I love conversation, though, because of its interactive nature, and blogging is something of a happy medium. This is said to put in context the fact that I actually read the entire book and still recommend it.

7/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I don't "like" reading commentary type stuff (theology books etc) but I do it because I'd probably start a cult somewhere near Waco if I sat and studied the bible alone, left to my own best guesses and opinions. Guys like Foster and old dead guys put up some fences so that, yea, even when I disagree with them I have to ask why and wonder if I'm not outside the pasture of orthodoxy somewhere just a few short miles from passing the kool-aid.

True. What else do you like to read?

7/25/2006  
Blogger euphrony said...

At the risk of sounding like Scotty on Star Trek, I read a lot of technical journals. I read news on-line from half-a-dozen papers and news outlets, and I have even been know to read the dictionary and encyclopedia (now your thinking "yawn"). I am interested in history and current events, along with some interest in language, thus these choices. For escapism reading, I tend to fall to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre (Asimov, Orson Scott Card, David Brin, Tolkien, etc.). By and large, though, I will read the Bible (I have found that when I carry around another book, the Bible does not get opened). I've been working on finishing a study in Kings and Chronicles. I have enjoyed reading some of the stuff from John Eldredge, and the two one-year studies "Men of the Bible" and "Women of the Bible" from Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth. I don't avoid commentaries because I do not want my beliefs challenged; rather, I follow my own little bunny trails and never seem to get far in the book.

7/25/2006  
Blogger euphrony said...

continued . . .
Had some work to do, so I'll finish my response now. I keep myself grounded through discussion with others (deep calls to deep). Truth be known, some of the things I've become convicted about in spripture would have the Orthodoxy saying I've already dipped into the Kool-Aid.

I'm assuming you were in Waco when things went wacko; I was in College Station at the time. There's nicer places to set up your camp if the time comes - try Junction or Fredericksburg (now that would be a church on the (big granite) rock).

7/25/2006  
Blogger glennlavender said...

Thanks for the great writing! My mind had already taken me to The Salvation Army before you went there in your article. I grew up in that church in Canada and it has a wonderful history and heritage.

Not to simplify what you said in the last paragraph but I've always found camp and retreats to do almost exactly what you describe. "Live in close geographical community and relationship with other people; live in submission to authority; practice silence and simplicity and discipline; regularly read the Bible and prayed and meditated on what you read . . ." I think that is why the times in my life I spent at camp or at a retreat were always the best for my spiritual growth. And now, frequently being guests at these events, I see the same result in many other people's lives.

GL

7/27/2006  

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