From Publishers Weekly
Readers might not think that poverty, chastity and obedience would be attractive to the common Protestant, but Okholm, a theology professor at Azusa Pacific University, will make them think twice. Although he is a Presbyterian, Okholm is comfortable with Catholicism and realistic about the benefits and burdens of both denominations. He finds in Benedictine monasticism a helpful path to holiness, and he avoids idealizing or romanticizing the monastic life. This is why his work succeeds as a guide for the common Christian. Okholm is wise to point out that St. Benedict's Rule, the text upon which his vision of monastic life is built, is both challenging and down-to-earth. The author invites readers to integrate some monastic practices into their daily lives and stresses that this does not involve cloistering themselves—these practices are both ordinary and sacred. He also provides an excellent example for Catholics and Protestants alike to dig deeply into the Christian tradition and find how both can spiritually benefit from the other. Okholm provides a Historical Afterword to address why Protestants initially rejected the monastic life. This is a fascinating and, considering its brevity, surprisingly detailed overview that readers should not pass up. (Dec.)
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From the Back Cover
When Dennis Okholm began exploring the roots of contemporary Benedictine monasticism, he quickly found that St. Benedict has as much to offer Protestants as he does Roman Catholics. In Monk Habits for Everyday People
, Okholm--a professor who was raised as a Pentecostal and a Baptist--uses his profound experience with Benedictine spirituality to show how it can enrich the lives and prayer practices of Protestants.
"As a knowledgeable pastor and theologian, Dennis Okholm proves an excellent guide. . . . This memoir, gentle in tone and often humorous, is nonetheless full of challenges to Protestant comfort zones. . . . Okholm reminds us that for all Christians, good spiritual habits are good for our spiritual health; that 'scripture is the original rule'; and that Christ is the point of it all, our true beginning and our end."
, author of The Cloister Walk
(from the foreword)
"Twenty years in the making, Dennis Okholm's Monk Habits
is the perfect introduction to Benedictine spirituality for the earnest Protestant believer. In taking us on his own journey, he invites to discover Benedict of Nursia and Benedict's myriad faithful followers over fifteen centuries. This represents an important bridge between evangelicalism and Catholicism. Highly recommended."
, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier
"The practices of Benedictine monasticism have several times brought revitalization and spiritual focus back to the worldwide church at large. In this informative and irenic book, Dennis Okholm explains how the 'rule' of Benedict did the same for him personally as an evangelical professor and Presbyterian minister. The book's winsome portrait of the Benedictines--and, through their monastic practices, of Christ--makes for a spiritual feast. The historically minded will also benefit from Okholm's careful discussion of why more Protestants should pay greater heed to the Benedictine life."
--Mark A. Noll
, coauthor of Is the Reformation Over? An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Catholicism