the monastic orders of the white men

As Andrew Jones mentioned on one of his recent posts on his blog, us here in the Mustard Seed House are in conversations about monastic orders and what/how that would look in our urban context here in Seattle and on what will be in the future a Celtic flavored new monastic retreat/intentional rural community in Camano Island, WA.

My involvement and interest on monastic orders comes from a practitioners point of view, as someone who’ve been involve in different ways community living most of his life. This conversation about “new, missional” monastic orders is not new. A simple google search will provide plentiful of links regarding the subject. What is interesting to me is that it is happening mostly among white, middle age men.

In case some of you might have not notice, our Emerging World is multi-cultural. By retaining the euro-centric, enlightenment view of privilege discourse western Christians show not only their disconnection with reality but also their blindness and arrogance toward a fully expression of the Communitas of God.

If we really believe in a movement toward a whole life expression of discipleship and faith, we should embrace the gifts of diverse voices and praxis coming from many worlds and cultures, as the Zapatistas say “a world where many worlds are possible.”
The rumble of the drums and the joyful voices of our brothers and sisters from the Emerging World are getting louder and louder each minute. With all due respect, dear brothers and sisters from the west and north, you’ve been speaking for quite awhile. Now it is your time to show some humility and listen.

10 thoughts on “the monastic orders of the white men

  1. Hey, timely comment. I was just thinking about some of those issues. Despite the fact I am a “white man” (although not middle aged yet) I thought your comments on monastic orders had some good points. Yeah, we really do need something a little more representative of God’s kingdom.



  2. GO for it Eliacin – multicultural, intergenerational, families not just singles, I think that there are many of us that feel excluded in the current way we think of monastic orders.

  3. In my experience, I’ve had to search for the voices of sisters from all kinds of backgrounds. Not that many sisters have been speaking…anywhere.

  4. good point – for us in the west, but i have found a great model in the Christians Ashrams in India that have arisen from Indian missiology. worth the look!

  5. Eliacin,

    Perhaps this is because anglo-saxon, white Americans are some of the least naturally communal folks in the world. It’s a big ado to us (I say us, but I’m only 26) because its new territory. I suspect that many of other embedded cultures may be paying less attention to this conversation because it’s non-news to them. They already recognize and embody intentional community–have for centuries. Maybe it’s up to we white folks to get engaged in their communities (assuming we’d be welcome in a particular context) rather than expecting them to join ours.

    What’s been your experience? Am I way off?

  6. Good to discover your comments. I’m white (& over 60!) but for 13 years living in an Afro/Caribbean island where the word ‘order’ does not sit easily and people find it difficult to relate to a European centred church history. Yet we, with many young adults, are exploring being a dispersed community and thinking about the appropriateness of sustaining ‘rules of life’ now that we are less ‘meeting based’. It will be interesting to see the considered outcomes of ‘Seabeck’ in the light of your comments and Andrew’s referral to Christian Ashrams looks interesting. Mind you the scriptures must be even more relevant no matter how inspiring the Celtic church period is for many…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.