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British perspectives on small, intentional communities

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Here be dynamite, and a window into the heart of Julian’s quest. Read the comments..

Paula Huston Follow-Up: On the Clash between Ancient Monasticism and Modern Romanticism.

I read Kauffman’s “Follow Me” two years ago, a fascinating overview of the dual development of intentional communities across the centuries.

Ivan Kauffman: New Monasticism and the Future of Lay Intentional Communities Emerging Communities • Ancient Roots’ first podcast episode! I talk with Ivan Kauffman about the New Monasticism: a Christian ecumenical movement with roots in evangelicalism, of intentional communities most often located in impoverished inner city neighborhoods, with a strongly articulated social justice orientation and an aspir … Read More

via emerging communities · ancient roots

Great to hear of NM communities outside Europe and the US.

Tall Skinny Kiwi: At a monastery near Waikanae.

A recent development among Protestant radicals in the West, NM has spiritual roots in such ecumenical communities as Iona (Scotland), Taize (France) and Bose (Italy). Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s prediction about a ‘new monasticism’ and his intentional ‘Bruderhaus’ at Finkenwalde is sufficient evidence, many believe, for perceiving Bonhoeffer as some kind of neo-monastic prophet. Considering our rapidly secularising society, why are we not seeing similar examples of intentional communities in this country? I mentioned two factors yesterday:

  • economic trajectory
  • counter-cultural ideology

Race has to come into it. This was picked up already in the 12 Marks, but here is a more penetrating analysis and an equally sharp comment.

In South Africa, most people haven’t shared in enough prosperity to have become  disillusioned with it. Secondly, with the SA Council of Churches endorsing a ‘critical solidarity’ with the government’s development programme (RDP), there is precious little distance from state power to maintain a prophetic voice, never mind a counter-culture.

“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.

My MTh thesis completed Nov 2009.

Table of Contents

content – final

at Tegel prison

at Tegel prison

Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer the first New monastic? His ill-fated seminary at Finkenwalde had some of the hallmarks of a NM community – and it was DB who later wrote from prison:

the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ. I think it is time to gather people together to do this.