Monday, 29 August 2016

New Monasticism




From the webpage : http://www.new-monastics.com/new-monastic-life/ 
A movement which offers vision, insight, support and direction in assimilating Religion and spirituality within daily life, within new forms, emerging from within contemporary conscience and experience.
 ---------------------------------------------------



“We assert that new monasticism names an impulse that is trying to incarnate itself in the new generation. It is beyond the borders of any particular religious institution, yet drinks deeply from the wells of our wisdom traditions. It is an urge which speaks to a profoundly contemplative life, to the formation of small communities of friends, to sacred activism and to discovering together the unique calling of every person and every community.”
                                        -From the New Monastic Manifesto

New Monasticism is a diverse movement, not limited to a specific religious denomination or church and including varying expressions of contemplative and prophetic life. These include evangelical Christian communities such as Shaine Clairborne’s “Simple Way Community” and Jonathon Hartgrove-Wilson’s “Rutba House,” European and Irish new monastic communities, such as that championed by Bernadette Flanagan, and the "Community of the New Monastic Way" founded by feminist contemplative theologian Beverly Lanzetta. Many of these expressions of new monasticism can be found on our “Media/Resources” link.

Our new monasticism continues to broaden this growing movement, in particular through our partnership with traditional monasticism and the involvement of mentors from numerous religious traditions, including Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic-Sufi, and Hindu. One of our mentors, Brother Wayne Teasdale, called this orientation “interspiritual,” and we have placed new monasticism within an explicitly "interspiritual" framework. He described interspiritual as:
an enhanced understanding of the inner life through assimilating the psychological, moral, aesthetic, spiritual, and literary treasures of the world’s religions. Each tradition will define itself in relation to every other viable tradition of the inner life; each will take into account the totality of the spiritual journey...
...
It is deeply concerned with the plight of all those who suffer, wherever they are…
….
It follows a strict adherence to ecological justice …

It doesn’t just depend on books or spiritual reading, but looks to art, music, and movies … universal languages of vast sacred potential … to nourish contemplative life…

It recognizes that we are part of a much larger community … the human, the earth, the solar system, our galaxy, and the universe itself…

Intermysticism [or interspirituality] is the deepest expression of the religious dimension of human life. It is the actual religion of each one of us when we arrive at the point of spiritual maturity.
This lineage of new monastic life has been formed by a confluence of contemplative lineages, including those of Fr. Bede Griffiths, Fr. Thomas Keating, and Brother Wayne Teasdale. Fr. Bede was a Catholic Camaldolese monk who oversaw a Christian-Hindu ashram throughout his life in Tamil Nadu, India, and Fr. Thomas Keating is a Catholic Trappist monk who founded Centering Prayer (a Christian form of meditation) and Contemplative Outreach, an international, interdenominational organization dedicated to helping individuals and small faith communities live out the contemplative dimension of the Gospel.

Lay Catholic monk Brother Wayne Teasdale counted both Fr. Bede and Fr. Keating as his “spiritual fathers” (along with the Dalai Lama), combining these lineages and living them out as hermit in the heart of Chicago, living prophetically as a “monk in the world” without institutional support. In addition, our articulation of new monastic life has been inspired by Raimon Panikkar, particularly his vision of the “new monk” that he shared in 1980 at Holyoke, MA during a series of lectures he delivered to a group of eastern and western monastics, and subsequently published as Blessed Simplicity: The Monk as Universal Archetype.

Finally, these insights have been integrated into the praxis of our own lives under the close guidance of wise spiritual mentors from diverse religious traditions, such as Fr. Keating, the late Brother Wayne Teasdale, the hermits of SkyFarm Hermitage, Sister Michaela Terrio and Brother Francis Ali, Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, feminist contemplative theologian Beverly Lanzetta and the late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

For more on new monastic life, please see our "Media / Resources" link above where you will find an eclectic assortment of articles, videos, books, and other websites related to new monasticism. Please also check out our “Events” link for upcoming classes, talks, and retreats, and refer to our “Programs” link to see the specific type of work the Foundation is dedicated to. For Rory and Adam's new book, The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living (Orbis Books, 2015), click here.

Monday, 1 August 2016

"The Secret Life of God."



When the summer holidays come I’ve always been lucky enough that a few good books fall into my lap and take me to the liminal space I’ve been thirsting for.  This year “TheSecret Life of God” is the first of my spiritual elixirs.  It makes compelling reading.  The sort of book you just can’t put down. It has an easy, reflective style and opens the mind to new thoughts rather than ossifying personal reflection or opinion. 

The back cover reads,

“The Secret Life of God is a kind of spiritual investigation into twenty-first century Britain.  It Chronicles how, in an age where institutional religion is on the decline, people are finding new ways of believing and belonging, and puts the faces and places to the trend in which people are increasingly describing themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious.’
Part travelogue, part reportage, the book reveals the communities pioneering a new form of monasticism, the Sufis exploiting the spiritual possibilities of sound and the Druids forging a relationship with nature.  Interwoven with a powerful narrative of loss and belonging, it is both a deeply personal book and one which tells a wider story about our evolving relationship with place and meaning.”
I’m still only just into the chapter about “Pioneering Nuns,” (The  Sisters of the Holy Trinity, Herefordshire) but so looking forward to finding more about how other communities are responding to the call of the God with a 'secret life !'