The new monastics

Alternative Christian communities
At a time when the church had grown too cozy with the ruling authorities, when faith had become a means to power and influence, some Christians who sought to live out an authentically biblical faith headed for desolate places. They pooled their resources and dedicated themselves to a life of asceticism and prayer. Most outsiders thought they were crazy. They saw themselves as being on the narrow and difficult path of salvation, with a call to prick the conscience of the wider church about its compromises with the “world.”

I’m describing not fourth-century monks, but present-day communities of Christians who think the church in the United States has too easily accommodated itself to the consumerist and imperialist values of the culture. Living in the corners of the American empire, they hope to be a harbinger of a new and radically different form of Christian practice.

 

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