Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ready to join the new monastic movement?

Recently I got to visit with a friend who is involved with what some call the neo-monastic movement. This movement, along with some others, are challenging the way church is doing ministry in the world today. For example, those in the neo-monastic movement have no interest in church planting. Reacting to the rationalized (emphasis on the use of intellect) way  church has been functioning, this movement recalls that God is revealed in the narrative of Scripture and not through doctrines. This movement tends to be significantly more multicultural and multinational than traditional churches. As well, they draw heavily on ancient liturgical practices from the likes of the Franciscans, Benedictines, and Celts. Especially those in the Franciscan way live among the poor and needed as my friend does. One particular person in the monastic moment challenges, "The world doesn't need more words, not even more 'right' words. The world needs more words made flesh. The world needs more people to live the good news incarnationally, in a way that can be seen heard and handled." For me one of the strengths of this movement is that it puts faith into practice in a way that a persons Christianity is a seven day a week, twenty four hour a days reality that offers redemption to the least of these among us. It is a reminder to the church that if we're not engaging in redemptive ministry with the poor (for you North Georgia United Methodists that is this year's theme for our Annual Conference), then we're not really doing church as we're called to be.
Scripture: John 1:1-18; 20:19-23
Why do you think Jesus repeats the word "Peace"?
How is our "sending" v. 21 like God's sending of Jesus into the world? How is it similar? How is different?
How does this "sending" have a similar empowerment and mission (vv. 22-23)?
What do you see as a place the church can learn from the neo-monastic movement?
How might the church do a better job with focusing on doing ministry such that people see the Good News of the One who sent us?

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