Throughout the history of the church, monastic movements have emerged to explore new ways of life in the abandoned places of society. School(s) for Conversion is a communal attempt to discern the marks of a new monasticism in the inner-cities and forgotten landscapes of the empire that is called America.
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By combining first-person accounts of the marks of Christ-formed communities with rich historical and biblical reflection, the various writers provide truthful and hope-filled descriptions of contemporary Christian community. Taking seriously the resources of the monastic tradition and the importance of preserving a relationship with the wider church, the authors offer mature, wise, and gracious insight into the practices of faithful living. I heartily recommend this book to anyone yearning for evidence and promise of renewal in the church!
—Christine D. Pohl, professor of church in society, Asbury Theological Seminary
Whatever future God has for the church, I am convinced the essays in this remarkable book will help us discern that future. Monasticism has always been one of the main means God has used to renew the church. Through some strange miracle God now seems to be calling Protestants to consider what it might mean for them to live in communities that might look very much like monastic communities. Such a call might tempt many toward some kind of romanticism, but one of the remarkable things about these essays is their stark realism. Such a realism is unavoidable not only because of the challenges facing those who are about the formation of communities faithful to God but also because they have lived with one another enough to know this is not going to be easy. So these essays are full of good sense and they help us see the potential of this extraordinary movement. Moreover, each essayist never forgets to remind us that when it’s all said and done, it’s about God who makes it possible for us to live patiently and nonviolently in a world of impatience and violence.
—Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School
I believe the new monasticism represents a source of vital renewal from the margins and forgotten places of empire. It is my sincere hope that the new monasticism will grow so strong and healthy and widespread that every follower of Jesus in every church has the opportunity—if not to actually live in a new monastic community—to at least have enough proximity and relationship to be influenced by it. This book can help that dream and prayer come true.
—Brian McLaren, pastor, Cedar Ridge Community Church, Spencerville, MD
In this vision of transformation, the prophets of a new monasticism have a single commitment. They want to realize together—in prayer, thought, and action—their total dependence on God by simply following Jesus. A book prompted by our civilization’s signs of death may not seem hopeful, but this one is. The new monasticism has seen the truth that in deepening darkness there is nothing so hopeful as embracing the cross.
—Jim Douglass, cofounder, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Poulsbo, WA
God is stirring something new . . . a new monasticism. This book will take you on an intriguing journey with a few followers of Jesus who are discovering some new ways to give expression to the monastic vocation in our troubled world. Must reading for those who want to take their faith seriously in community with others.
—Tom Sine, founder, Mustard Seed Associates
The Rutba House is a Christian community of hospitality, peacemaking, and discipleship in the Walltown neighborhood of Durham, NC. It provides formerly homeless people a place to eat, pray, and share their lives.