Monks are found in many countries, cultures, and times. Monk-ness seems to be a “common human response to deep moral and spiritual aspirations.” I don’t know where I got that phrase but does it describe you?
The image of a Christian monk conjures a man kneeling, prostrate, or sitting in a pew. Maybe there’s a crucifix. But now there’s also a woman sitting in a pre-dawn silence, wrapped in a blanket on couch or bed, Bible, journal, and pen at the ready. Coffee or tea steam from a nearby mug. Now a man hikes into a rugged wilderness—to stare from mountain peaks or into lakes. There is action in monk-ness, not just contemplation.
Draining the Swamp
Monks drained swamps and planted gardens. They concocted elixirs and illuminated manuscripts. They made bread, cheese and jam. Waking at ungodly hours, they chanted psalms and ate in silence while Scriptures were read. They fed the poor, healed the sick, and comforted the lonely. And they went out on mission, at the risk of life and limb.
The New Monasticism
What would a Christian monk look like in our millennium? What does the new monasticism look like? Here are 7 signs you might be a millennial monk:
- Your life centers around your relationship with God in Christ;
- You have deep aspirations for authentic spiritual life;
- You live in the world, an ordinary hobbit;
- You desire prayer and community, ancient monastic traditions to root your life in;
- You find God equally in contemplation and action; you are critically engaged with contemporary culture, a monk in motion;
- You also withdraw regularly to be with the Father in silence and solitude;
- You order your life according to these aspirations, or desire to.
And this is how we make a beginning, connecting with God in a deep way, keeping our wits about us in the shifting sands of culture.