Saturday, August 11, 2007

Punk Monk

Punk Monk: New Monasticism and the Ancient Art of Breathing
by Andy Freeman and Pete Greig
Regal Books, 2007

I actually read this book before reading Harry Potter and saved the epilogue and appendixes until today. This book reminded me a bit of Irresistible Revolution because of its purpose and narrative style. The authors of this book primarily tell the story of the conception of their boiler room in Reading, England and how it has developed through time.

"A 24-7 Boiler Room Community is a Christ-centered community that practices a daily rhythm of prayer, study and celebration while caring actively for the poor and the lost."
"Bonhoeffer recognized in Christ's Sermon on the Mount a subversive and revolutionary manifesto for a counter-cultural resistance that could be cultivated into a new form of monasticism."
"Do we believe that the world will change if we dare to live them [Jesus words in the Gospels] out radically?
"The monastic life was about, as Bonhoeffer reminded us, "an uncompromising allegiance to a life lived according to the Sermon on the Mount."
"Nearly every major monastic movement began as a violent reaction to compromised religion. Monasticism, at its best, has always been a cry for change--in our own hearts, in an over-accommodating Church and in society at large."
"Our mission is only and entirely to minister to Jesus, which we do primarily through prayer and worship, and secondarily by finding the face of Jesus in the faces of the poor and the lost."
"Aposto-monastic- seek to combine the inward call to intimacy in prayer with the outward commission to involvement in practice."
"Celtic missionaries believed that they would find God upon their arrival only if He walked with them the entire way. 'I shall not find Christ at the end of my journey unless he accompanies me along the way.'"
"When we pray, we cannot remain passive, because God stirs us to be active and to love the people we are praying for with our actions."

I hope I have not bored you with all these quotes but this is one of those books that I found myself highlighting several bits like these along the way. They are nuggets of wisdom that are surrounded by stories to illustrate the point. These boiler rooms are not very different from Celtic monasteries. They have a regular prayer schedule, liturgy, and evangelistic activity. They value/embrace/encourage creativity better than any other organized Christian gathering that I know of. They have exciting prayer, which is unfortunately a rare treat. These 24-7 Boiler Room communities seem to be doing a lot of great things around the world and embracing a population of people generally not reached by traditional churches.

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