The Secular Monasticism

We are in the midst of a dynamic and changing spiritual climate. The old certainties have gone. The separations and divisions between denominations and religions are increasingly anachronistic. 

Many are beginning to take a fresh look at monasticism and seeing within its understandings the possibility of a renewal of spirituality in our time. It is not the monasticism of the high middle ages when the movement had all but ossified; but rather the movement in its beginnings in the desert, its taking root and growing in Celtic Northern and Western Britain and Ireland, and its renewal under the likes of Francis and Dominic. It is the monasticism of the mystics.

We are not seeking a replication of those earlier movements, but a fresh understanding of the principles which motivated them. What would a new monasticism look like today?

Over the last twenty plus years we have been exploring this tantalizing idea. We are not alone. Many spiritual seekers around the world are drinking again from the ancient wells. We join with all who are on a similar quest, adding our prayers and energy to theirs for a new monastic renewal in our time.

The monastic way was always a demanding and disciplined life. It required leaving home and family to live with others who shared the Rule. The new monasticism will, likewise, be demanding, but in different ways. Most in the new monasticism will not live in enclosed communities or commit themselves to a wandering life of preaching and poverty. The new monastics will come from a variety of walks of life and most will not be committed to celibacy. They will seek to engage in the practices of prayer, meditation, study and service in the midst of busy family and work lives. Theirs will be a spirituality in the very heart of twenty-first century life—the breaking down of sacred and secular.

The monastic Rule of the Lindisfarne Community is flexible was in development for some years. This Rule as we have it today was completed during forty days of prayer and reflection in the summer of 2002.

We are all too aware of its imperfect nature. We are aware, at the same time, that our Rule is always provisional. In all that follows we are open to further light as we pursue God and live lives of service.

Nonetheless, we offer this Rule as a vibrant and exciting spirituality for the twenty-first century.

May the Three of Surpassing Love lead you into the depths of the Ultimately Real,

+Jane
+Andrew


Secular Monasticism FAQS


Q: What is the Rule for a the Lindisfarne Community?
A: The Rule is the "Way of Living" of the Lindisfarne Community. Since earliest times monastic communities expressed their commitment to God and each other through a "Rule." Our "Rule" is simple and contains those things which we value most. It expresses the kind of life we desire to live in following Jesus.

Q: Why monastic?
A: In the West the monastic movement began in about the third century when some Christians began to take the call of discipleship more seriously than was the general trend in the church at that time. In the East, Buddhism and Daoism had monasticism much earlier.
In the twenty-first century there is the beginning of an exploration of monasticism in our own socio-cultural context. The new movement draws from the old, but is more fitted for our own times. It remains focussed on a disciplined life of prayer, meditation, and service with the desire to live according to a common Way of Living (a Rule).

Q: Aren't all monastics celibate and live in enclosed communities?
A: Historically many were, but in the new monasticism most folk are not celibate, many are married and live "regular" lives in society.

Q: Do you have to be a Roman Catholic?
A: Some are, most are not. Christians from all traditions and backgrounds are finding in the new monastic movement help in following Christ.

Q: How do I become a member of the Lindisfarne Community?
A: We are a relational community, so membership requires growing in a relationship with us. In brief there are three stages: enquirer (which lasts about 3 months); novice (which lasts a year) and professed (which is the final serious commitment to living according to the Rule of the Lindisfarne Community.)

Q: Where can I learn more?
A: Download the paper "The New Monasticim" written in 2003, which will point you to books and web sites.