New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today’s Church

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Author . Brazos $14.99 (147p) ISBN 978-1-58743-224-8

It’s “a vision so old it looks new,” writes Wilson-Hartgrove, a 20-something North Carolina pastor who is part of New Monasticism.New Monastics, he says, are a loosely confederated group of Christians who choose to live in intentional communities, often in blighted areas.It’s age-old monasticism, but with new twists: some practitioners are celibate singles, but many others are married with children; some communities hold all goods in common and pool their economic resources, while others retain individual ownership.The book’s more coherent and invigorating second half explores the marks of New Monasticism, including geographic relocation, redistribution of wealth, ecumenism, peacemaking and submission to the church.These chapters, which offer a treasure trove of concrete examples and stories of real communities that practice these values, eclipse the book’s unfocused first half, which mires down in broad descriptions of American Christianity’s complex problems and an obligatory dose of monastic history.Readers who are serious about putting New Monastic ideas into practice may want to skip the first 75 pages in favor of life-changing practices like relational tithing (maintaining no more than one degree of separation between the giver of charity and its receiver).(May)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
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