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360-degree photo panoramas of Armenian medieval monasteries, compliments of Smithsonian, Armenia and USAID



Everyone wants to slow down these days; they just want to do it quickly.


I am not a breadmaker. Though I’ve certainly made my share of bread and other yeasty goods, it’s never been a habit. And let’s be honest, habit is essential to the craft. I am, however, inspired by those who embrace the disciplines of breadmaking as part of their daily practice.

6It’s just shy of twenty years ago that my beloved and I showed up to a bookshop in Pasadena (California) to hear the Jesuit Brother Rick Curry speak about his book The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking. The Brother not only spoke of his passions for bread and faith, but created and kneaded a simple dough as he spoke. It was all the more captivating for the fact that he had only one arm.

At the time Curry was running a school in New York for disabled actors who aspired to careers in the theatre. To support the school, he worked…

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Academic institutions as religious orders?

Richard Mouw is president emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary.

Carl McColman reviews two Trappist autobiographies: ‘Light in the Shoe Shop’ by Agnes Day and ‘Finding the Treasure’ by Augustine Roberts, both OCSO.

List of African saints according to Orthodox tradition.

Missing Augustine?

Fr. Moses Berry, President – African Saints.

Church House.

Neat ideas in spatial design.

“The Monastic Idea in South Africa: 1879 – present” is the working title of a new dissertation I’m doing at UKZN. It came out of a question I’ve been asking since 2000: why are no new monastic communities in South Africa? This term is a little more defined than ‘intentional community,’ and I explored it in relation to Bonhoeffer’s seminary at Finkenwalde in a MTh thesis (see earlier post). My conclusion was that South Africa doesn’t share the counter-cultural ideology and economic trajectories in the West which spawn Protestant NM movements. The present study aims to go deeper in exploring the monastic idea or vision in this country.

A vague outline could look like this:

  1. the monastic idea – what is it, really?
  2. local monastic expressions:
    • Catholic
    • Orthodox
    • Protestant
    • ecumenical / new monastic

A few questions immediately present themselves:

  • Monastic idea: how would you define this? Are the following categories applicable: culture, charism, calling? What others are applicable?
  • Time frame: 1879 marks the arrival of the Trappists in South Africa. Should it be earlier or later? Why?
  • Location: South Africa or Southern? The latter would Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland – but how would this inflate the study?

A separate discussion thread for each monastic expression (above) would be helpful.

May 2018
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