As you may well know I'm hosting the launch of the new Fresh Expressions book on Thursday called, 'New Monasticism as Fresh Expressions of Church'. I'm looking forward to it, the event has sold out and there seems to be a real buzz around the new monastic conversation at the moment. Yet part of Thursday will be an opportunity to quiz the people who have contributed to the book at their experience of New Monasticism.
So I've been reflecting on the questions that I may ask them on Thursday night. I'm largely really supportive and encouraging on the New Monastic conversation, anything that brings together prayer and mission has to be good. At the same time I've got a few questions that I want to ask and so I thought that I'd share them here first. (BTW I hope to have an audio-file of the book launch on the blog on Friday)
1: One comment that Martyn Percy made was that an 'an abbot' is a title rich in heritage and monasticism as a concept is one that has deep, deep roots. Does our contemporary re-imagination of the monastic tradition violate the heritage from which it comes? Is it too pop...
2: Is there something slightly sanctimonious about the new monasticism conversation? Is it the bitter pill that Christians think that culture needs to swallow to make it better? Is there a genuine desire to swallow the pill and is this desire matched action?
3: Is it offering a countercultural model of community? And if so is the best model to engage with society?
4: Does it bring people to faith? Does it engage with the non-churched?
I'm hoping that the evening also provides an opportunity for the Christian community of Greater Manchester to reflect on new-monasticism in our city. There is a rich heritage of community engaged missional work, but I'm not so convinced that this has been backed up by a missional spirituality. I'm looking forward to the conversation that this evening sparks off...