Emerging Communities • Ancient Roots’ first podcast episode! I talk with Ivan Kauffman about the New Monasticism: a Christian ecumenical movement with roots in evangelicalism, of intentional communities most often located in impoverished inner city neighborhoods, with a strongly articulated social justice orientation and an aspiration to learn from and appropriate elements of the classical monastic tradition.
Ivan is a self-identified Mennonite Catholic, a participant in the Mennonite-Catholic dialog group Bridgefolk, and a lay associate of Saint John’s Benedictine Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. Presently, Ivan is a scholar-in-residence at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. His research focuses on the interface of religion and politics in history, with an emphasis on peace and nonviolence, and the many ways Christians have come together through the centuries to build communal lives of radical discipleship. Ivan is the author of Follow Me: A History of Christian Intentionality, which was written to provide a historical framework for understanding the New Monasticism movement.
In our conversation, we discuss Ivan’s experience attending the June 2004 New Monasticism gathering, wherein the 12 Marks of the New Monasticism were discerned as articulations of shared values and practices. We also discuss the strengths, gifts, and challenges facing New Monastic and other lay intentional community movements, the New Monasticism’s relationship to the classical monastic tradition, and finally, Ivan’s wide-angle view of the historical context in which the New Monasticism is taking shape—what he calls “the view from 40,000 feet.”
It might be helpful to have the 12 Marks at hand while listening to the podcast:
1. Relocation to the abandoned places of Empire.
2. Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us.
3. Hospitality to the stranger
4. Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation.
5. Humble submission to Christ’s body, the church.
6. Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate.
7. Nurturing common life among members of intentional community.
8. Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children.
9. Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life.
10. Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies.
11. Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18.
12. Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life.
Enjoy, and please share your comments. I especially appreciate hearing what questions arise for you, so that I might integrate them into future interviews.
Into/Outro music “He Prabhu” by Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam., and John Pennington, from Compassionate and Wise.