Monasticism Old and New

Being a disciple of Christ requires a critical distancing from the culture that none of us can accomplish on our own. So, we hunger to relearn the historic practices of prayer and worship, service and hospitality, spiritual friendship and correction that can mold our hearts and minds in faithfulness, yet we harbor a lingering suspicion of mere tradition, uncritically appropriated. How shall we proceed?

"The restoration of the church will surely come from a sort of new monasticism," Dietrich Bonhoeffer predicted. Our contributors explore new forms of Christian community, sifting their continuity with classic monasticism and their transforming possibilities for our discipleship.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove shows how monasticism offers a powerful critique of mainstream culture, and Ivan Kaufmann notes similarities between communities formed by evangelicals and monastics. Will Sampson explains why Bonhoeffer remains so attractive to Christians weary of the false dichotomy between right belief and right practice.

Matthew Mattingly (Saint Meinrad Archabbey), Celina Varela (Reba Place Fellowship), and Emily Rodgers (The Landing) profile their intentional Christian communities. Kyle Childress explores how local congregations might develop and follow a common rule of life.

The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore how monastic communities, classic and new, offer transforming possibilities for our discipleship. The study guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.

Download the entire Monasticism Old and New issue and the set of five Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.



Hymn and Worship Service

Inspirational Pieces

Book Reviews

  • "Learning from Monks," by J. Warren Smith
    • Roberta Bondi, To Love as God Loves: Conversations with the Early Church
    • Jason Byassee, Lord An Introduction to the Desert Fathers
    • Rowan Williams, Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another
    • Benedicta Ward, The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks
    • Laura Swan, The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women
    • William Harmless, S.J., Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism
  • "We Need Each Other and We Need God," by Elizabeth Sands Wise
    • Scott A. Bessenecker, The New Friars: The Emerging Movement Serving the World's Poor
    • Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today's Church
    • Jon Stock, Tim Otto, and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Biblical Wisdom for a New Monasticism
    • Rutba House, ed., Biblical Wisdom for a New Monasticism, and School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism

Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of five Study Guides)

Further Reading