scargillphil is now well and truly up and running! This is where our Director Phil Stone riffs on all manner of subjects close to his heart while keeping us posted on community life. It’s an opportunity to get a different insight into the Scargill Movement from a unique perspective. You can catch up with last week’s edition here. In today’s post our inimitable director (picture a mischievous Pan in a dog collar) discusses New Monasticism, the movement that seeks to bring elements of traditional monastic life and give them new expression in a contemporary context…
The other week Di and I attended a dialogue between people who represent the old monastic way of life and those who represent the new monastic way of life. It was wonderful to hear from the old monastics and I would say they are very gracious to us who are thinking in a new monastic way. They have made a huge lifelong commitment to a particular way of life whereas those of us exploring a new kind of monasticism are, tongue in cheek, just playing with it really. That said there is a lot of value in taking on board the wonderful truths and lifestyles of old monasticism and reincorporating them into patterns of living today. For instance at Scargill we have a shared ethos, a daily rhythm of prayer and a rule of life, similar to that of old monastic movements, which we call our Pathway. This rule is essential to shaping our life together and links us with many people who become Scargill Companions who follow the same Pathway wherever they may be living. Real hospitality, a key cornerstone of traditional monasticism, is also central to our life together, believing that Christ is in all that come through our doors, treating each one as a royal guest.
I would say that at Scargill we are growing into becoming a new kind of monastic community. For many people labels such as ‘New Monasticism’ are unhelpful, or only have a limited application. Some find these terms useful in order to group together resources and connect new communities while others don’t, finding them limiting or insufficient. Whatever you call it there seems to be a growing momentum in small communities across the world to reincorporate traditional practices of shared living and hospitality in everyday life. One of the things about this kind of lifestyle that young people are particularly drawn to is the sense of authenticity, the opportunity to find an authentic way of expressing their love – their love for Christ. They’re looking for something, for a discipleship that is real and that really does affect their lives. They are looking for a discipleship that goes alongside mission. Really wrestling with Christ’s word, taking Christ seriously in our lives as the one who wants to make his home in our hearts. What does it really mean if Jesus takes home in our hearts? Wow! Incredible, right? That would be really transformative – that would reshape us in a way that is probably beyond our imagination.
Keep watching this space for more updates posted every Sunday.