In the 1930s, German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer anticipated the restoration of the church after World War II through a new kind of monasticism, a way of life of uncompromising adherence to the Sermon on the Mount in imitation of Christ. Since then, the renewal of Christian monasticism has become a great spiritual movement. Imbued with a love for God and neighbor, and with a healthy self-love, people are going to monasteries to deepen their relationship with God, to pray, and to find peace. While some monastic institutions are suffering a decline in traditional vocations, many Christians are exploring monastic lifestyles. This book introduces The Community of the Transfiguration in Australia, the story of a new monastic community and an inspiring source of hope for the world at another time of spiritual, social, and ecological crisis.
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Western civilization was cradled by the monastic movements of the Middle Ages, and many of the discoveries of modern science have their roots in monastic gardens and infirmaries. Paul Dekar gives a glimpse into a Christian movement of our time that promises to provide new energies—from the heart of evangelical Christianity—to enliven the monastic ideal and provide a unique Christian witness to the world. Intentional Christianity, a more intense form of belief and practice, provides all Christians, and indeed all persons, with a window into the possibilities of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the prospect of a world remade.
—Jeffrey Gros, distinguished professor of ecumenical and historical theology, Memphis Theological Seminary
The Community of the Transfiguration at Breakwater, Victoria, is one of the hidden and unexpected gems of the contemporary Australian Christian scene. Quietly but purposefully it has grown over the past 25 years into a vibrant, Spirit-filled Christian community standing in the great tradition of Christian monasticism. What is unexpected but all the more exciting is that this community is firmly grounded in and embraced by the Baptist Church while at the same time being thoroughly ecumenical. Paul Dekar’s book is a most timely contextualization of and tribute to the community.
—Andrew St. John, rector, Church of the Transfiguration, New York
Paul R. Dekar is Niswonger Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Memphis Theological Seminary. He is author of Creating the Beloved Community: A History of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the United States and Holy Boldness: Practices of an Evangelistic Lifestyle. He and his wife Nancy are North American members of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Australia.