If you google "New Monasticism" you'll come up with a few useful links, and this wikipedia entry. New Monasticism is one of the more recent movements, largely from the evangelical realm, that tries to get back to the roots of what's important in Christianity. Like the "Emergent Church", it is a criticism of the status quo in Christendom - suggesting more of a focus on the teachings of Jesus, and of community.
I'm mostly a fan of both of those movements. Moreso of the new monastics, since I know at heart I am somewhat of a monastic.
But, what they haven't been willing to do, for the most part, is question a very deeply imbedded set of ideas about gender and sexuality that many more progressive mainline Christians have been looking at for a while now. From my perspective, this is where it falls short.
Read these 12 Marks of new monastics:
- Relocation to the "abandoned places of Empire" [at the margins of society]
- Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us
- Hospitality to the stranger
- Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation
- Humble submission to Christ’s body, the Church
- Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate
- Nurturing common life among members of intentional community
- Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children
- Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life
- Care for the plot of God's earth given to us along with support of our local economies
- Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18
- Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life
I'm all for these - they are great - but they need a bit of revision:
4 should read: "Lament for divisions around gender, race and sexuality within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation"
And 8 should read: "Support for all types of families, however people wish to define them"
That would really be "new" monasticism.