the unexpected monks - and the dawg haus
On Sunday, the Boston Globe ran a feature article on the idea of new monasticism - people who are practicing Christianity within the context of a community house with shared possessions, meals, hospitality, spiritual direction. The movement has seen some remarkable growth in just the last five years, and they have some good points about why they are not simply a re-hashed Jesus-hippie-movement.
I'm very interested, because in part, my home in Champaign, the Dawg Haus, has tried to live some of these values. I've favored a much more relaxed approach, which means a great deal less orchestrated discipline except weekly meals and chores. We emphasize hospitality, leadership, worship, shared intimacy, personal humility and spiritual growth. But these are sort of left up to the individual guy. The level of participation varies depending on the current spiritual motivation or maturity of the guy. This clearly affects everyone in the house, but my little postmodern heart has trouble with practices that feel "official" or "group control-ish."
But I've often wondered if more focal - historic - practices (evening prayers, for example) would help or harm a community like ours.