Tag Archives: New Monasticism

New Book launches in Feb and March 2011

From the 1st of Feb we are entering the launching of the new book of which I am the Co-Editor New Monasticism as Fresh Expression of Church’ part of the Ancient Faith Future Mission Series.  So there are launch events on Tuesday (1st) in London UK and Thursday (3rd) in Manchester UK, and then 17th Canberra AUS.  This will be followed by launches on 17th March in Newcastle AUS and Melbourne 25th March in AUS.

It’s a great book, with chapters by:  Shane Claiborne (Simple Way Community), Andy Freeman (Reconcile Community Reading & 24-7 Prayer Community), Mark Berry (Safe Space Community), Diane Kershaw (Order of Mission), Ian Adams (CMS Small Missional Communities), Tessa Holland (Contemplative Fire), Tom SIne (Mustard Seeds), Bp Graham Cray (Archbishop’s Mission and Leader of Fresh Expressions Team (UK), Philip Roderick (Contemplative Fire), Pete Askew (Northumbria Community), Abbot Stuart Burns (Mucknell Abbey).

I think it makes a great second book in this important series.  We have started working on a third book in the series, which Aaron Kennedy (from the Moot Community) and I are editing with Graham Cray on the whole issue of Fresh Expressions and the Kingdom of God.

Multi-Authored New Book New Monasticism as Fresh Expressions of church

Really pleased that the new book New Monasticism as Fresh Expressions of the Church, second in the Ancient Faith Future Mission Series is now out and available. It’s a good read with a number of experienced authors in the UK and US that includes Andy Freeman from 24-7 Boiler Rooms and the Reading Reconcile Community, Ray Simpson from the Aidan and Hilda Community, Tom Sine from the Mustard Seeds House Seattle, Shane Claiborne from the Simple Way Community, Pete Askew from the Northumbria Community, Diana Kershaw from the Order of Mission, Philip Roderick and Tessa Holland from the Contemplative Fire Community, Mark Berry from the Safe Space Community in Telford, Bp Graham Cray the Archbishop’s Missioner and leader for Fresh Expressions and Abbot Stuart Burns, a leading UK Anglican Benedictine and I.  It’s a great read.

There are going to be a number of planned book launches in the UK, Australia and other places.  Ones planned so far are in London and Manchester in the first week of February.  For more information click here

Lecture on New Monasticism at Cramner Hall, Durham UK

I had fun last night and today hanging out with Michael and Rachael Volland in Durham, and then lecturing a gathering of methodist and anglican ordinands on the subject of New Monasticism.  This was also a mixture of those seeking traditional and pioneer vocations.  I talked of New Monasticism as a particular model of church based around small missional communities that draw on a Trinitarian mystical communion model.  I also talked of a Rhythm of Life as a key missional tool as it allows people to belong to work out if they believe and also focus on the faith in terms of a subjective orthopraxis.  This is key in the context of post secular spiritual seekers.  Anyway had fun, and learnt a few things from the responses and questions.

I am really impressed by the set up at Cramner, so if you are thinking and trad or pioneer training, I commend talking to Michael Volland.

How do you do formation with Spiritual Questers?

This is such an important question.  Many of us involved in emerging and fresh expressions of church have been on a journey for the last twenty odd years.  More recently we have been focusing on the question – how do you do mission and evangelism with those who are spiritual questers rather than religious followers.  For some of us, this journey has taken us to the Contemplative Christian tradition and new forms of church such is new monasticism.  The Moot Community is a good example of this form of community, now extremely committed to mission and evangelism through dialogue and the practice of meditation for stressed out workers in London’s financial district.

So through an openness to follow God, we have been led to the riches of a rhythm of life, spiritual practices and postures to help us engage with this agenda.  For some of us, this has evolved out of a greater Trinitarian understanding of the Christian faith leading to participative and sacramental understandings of the ecclesial community.  My first book, ‘Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church‘, was a first participant study looking at the significance of emerging and fresh expressions of church.  My second book, The Becoming of G-d which I hope is going to be published by Canterbury Press in a revised second edition, explores the Trinitarian basis discovered through being an emerging and fresh expression of Church, and the book I am currently writing, New Monastic Friars, seeks to explore new monasticism more fully.

However, most emerging and fresh expressions of church have not yet adequately explored how we do formation with spiritual questers.  However, we are beginning to build up an understanding to start experimenting with Christian formation.  Our mission and evangelism has relied on a transcendent model of contextual theology (using Bevans terminology) of invitation and transformation, sustained in a community seeking to become a deeply resourcing expression of church as a combination of a ‘mystical communion’ and ‘sacramental’ models of Church (using A Dulles’ understanding). So how do we hold onto this more questing and praxis approach to spiritual growth?

Well I think we are learning from two sources what this may look like – the combination of a 12-step course as a form of praxis and experience of transformation holding onto the Enneagram to help us understand ourselves better particularly around formation.  The Core Team in Moot is currently reading through the book ’12 Steps to Spiritual Wholeness by Philip St.Romain’ to open up the Christian faith.  Next we are reading through a book Aaron Kennedy is suggesting (from our community) on formation and the enneagram.  So we hope then, that this approach may help us draw together a proto-type to explore this as a more cultural resonant way to engage with formation in a more experiential relational way.

This is an important next step, and we will see where it leads us.

USA Edition: Ancient Faith Future Mission – fresh expressions of church in the sacramental traditions

Really pleased to say that the first book of the Series Ancient Faith Future Mission is now on Sale in a North American version in the USA. This includes the original authors Rowan Williams, Stephen Cottrell, Ian Adams, Sue Wallace, Karen Ward, Brian McLaren Richard Giles, Carl Turner, Phyllis Tickle, Paige Blair, Michael Volland, Philip Roderick and Tessa Holland, Karen Ward, Simon Rundell and Abbot Stuart Burns. But additionally includes chapters by Thomas Brackett, Stephanie Spellers, Christopher Ashley, Marie Harkey and Kirsten Wesselhoeft.

To order this in the USA & Canada please click here

Attractional v Missional Models of Church

Attractional Model of Church

I have now finished two out of the three lectures I am giving at Carey Baptist College in Auckland.  Today I explored the socio-cultural forces behind neo-spirituality driven by information technology and consumerism, and then explored a Trinitarian Ecclesiology as a basis of Christian Spirituality to engage with a context of neo-mysticism.  Finally, we looked at issues around leadership as all the denominations face the challenge of reframing from a Christendom to a post-Christendom context.

It was a good day, I forcused on the need to let go of an attractional model of church born of Christendom as incompatible with a post-christendom context of neo-mysticism, and the importance of a missional relational model of Christian Community.  Matt Stone has written a great blog on this, so check that out.  So my use of New Monasticism is a form of missional model, where the communities Rhythm of life lies at the heart of the community.  So offer the model below of a more new monastic missional model.

My reflections on the training morning with Baptist Pastors, is just how entrenched the attractional model is.  There is still a desire to form sexy forms of worship to get people in, but as I said then, this just recycles Christians rather than makes an impact with unchurched people.  It is hard to conceive of the missional model if you are operating within a model of attraction within a worldview of Christendom. My hope is that the training will play a small part to enable people to shift their worldviews to be able to see the need for an incarnational and missional model of church.

So I think the world church has much to learn from the likes of Missioners such as Vincent J Donovan of an Incarnational model of church, that seeks to use a methodology using a synthetic or transcendent contextual theological model.  A good day, but we so need need to help people get beyond an attractional model of mission.

Renewal through New Monastics

I have been thinking a lot about two quotes this week.  The first from Bonhoeffer on some words he wrote from a prison cell about how he saw a lay movement of new monastics as being a form of church for the modern world.  The second, is a quote about how those drawing on a contemplative approach to life, can be fully engaged with the complexity of the modern world to seek to bring renewal and justice:

“The renewal of the Church will come from a new type of monasticism which has only in common with the old an uncompromising allegience to the sermon on the mount.  It’s high time women and men banded together to do this.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a letter to his brother

“The achievement of divine simplicity implies not the annihilation of the complex world but its illumination and transfiguration, its integration in a higher unity. This will involve the appearance of a new type of saint who will take upon himself the burden of the complex world.”
Nicholas Berdyaev, Spirit and Reality, Bles, 1939, p.98

Now the words illuminating culture and transfiguring culture keep coming up.  In the West, the idea of God transfiguring culture or transfiguring anything is not really a well known concept.  But in the Eastern Church, the transfiguration is an important high note in the ministry of Jesus, where Jesus’s involvement in the world as a human, following his vocation, leads to a moment of transfguration, of change, and a moment of divine exposure and presence – an event of change and revealing…

The implications of holding these two quotes together, is the implication – that as we seek to pattern a Christian spirituality deeply involved in the world as community, then what we do, and our seeking God profoundly, seeking to life in a way modelled by christ, then our hope is that God will bring change and the presence of God, through tranfigured moments…

I need to think more about this idea of transfiguring…

BBC Radio Ulster Feature on New Monasticism

Radio Ulster

Mark McCleary of the Moot Community, who assisted  me on the last speaking tour in Vancouver and Seattle, completed this interesting little report on New Monasticism for Radio Ulster.  It includes interviews with Karen Ward, myself and other members of the Church of the Apostles Community in Seattle.

Moot and Church of the Apostles are sister Anglimergent new monastic communities

To listen to the report, click here

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