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School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism (New Monastic Library: Resources for Radical Discipleship) Paperback – January 14, 2005

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School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism (New Monastic Library: Resources for Radical Discipleship) + The Intentional Christian Community Handbook: For Idealists, Hypocrites, and Wannabe Disciples of Jesus + New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today's Church
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Product Details

  • Series: New Monastic Library: Resources for Radical Discipleship
  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (January 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597520551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597520553
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This book invites us into a way of life that is simultaneously ancient and wonderfully new. By combining first-person accounts of the marks of Christ-formed communities with rich historical and biblical reflection, the various writers provide truthful and hope-filled descriptions of contemporary Christian community. Taking seriously the resources of the monastic tradition and the importance of preserving a relationship with
the wider church, the authors offer mature, wise, and gracious insight into the practices of faithful living. I heartily recommend this book to anyone yearning for evidence and promise of renewal in the church! --Christine D. Pohl, author of Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition

Whatever future God has for the church, I am convinced the essays in this remarkable book will help us discern that future. Monasticism has always been one of the main means God has used to renew the church. Through some strange miracle God now seems to be calling Protestants to consider what it might mean for them to live in communities that might look very much like monastic communities. Such a call might tempt many toward some kind of romanticism, but one of the remarkable things about these essays is their stark realism. Such a realism is unavoidable not only because of the challenges facing those who are about the formation of communities faithful to God but also because they have lived with one another enough to know this is not going to be easy. So these essays are full of good sense and they help us see the potential of this extraordinary movement. Moreover, each essayist never forgets to remind us that when it's all said and done, it's about God who makes it possible for us to live patiently and nonviolently in a world of impatience and violence. --Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School

I believe the new monasticism represents a source of vital renewal from the margins and forgotten places of empire. It is my sincere hope that the new monasticism will grow so strong and healthy and widespread that every follower of Jesus in every church has the opportunity - if not to actually live in a new monastic community - to at least have enough proximity and relationship to be influenced by it. This book can help that dream and prayer come true. --Brian McLaren, pastor (crcc.org), author (anewkindofchristian.com)

About the Author

The Rutba House is a Christian community of hospitality, peacemaking, and discipleship in the Walltown neighborhood of Durham, NC.

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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Cliff Knighten on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
An ancient breeze is beginning to blow in unexpected places in North America. While monastic spirituality and institutions have been part of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communions for centuries, some North American Protestants are beginning to explore this approach to spirituality and community. Inspired by traditional monastic forms and disciplines as well as some Anabaptist traditions, proponents of a "new monasticism" advocate a turn, at least in part, to the kinds of "intentional community" seldom seen in American Protestant churches.

Jonathan R. Wilson coined the term "new monasticism" in his short monograph, Living Faithfully In a Fragmented World. Drawing on the social analysis of Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue) and the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together and Letters and Papers From Prison), Wilson called for a "new monasticism ... that will sustain the [church's] witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ through faithful living." (Living Faithfully, p. 69) This call assumes that the contemporary church is so compromised by its identification with and embrace of the forces and institutions of modernity and empire, that disentanglement from these forces and institutions is necessary for the church to recover its identity and mission.

In June 2004, the Rutba House ("a Christian community of hospitality, peacemaking, and discipleship" in Durham, N.C.) invited representatives from various neo-monastic communities across the country to a conference designed to "discern a possible shape of a new monasticism." School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism is one result of this meeting. Participants in the conference identified twelve "marks" or common characteristics of these neo-monastic communities.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BRIAN A. O'DELL on May 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a compilation of essays written about the 12 principles that many new intentional Christian communities live by in today's world. First is "Relocation to Abandoned Places of Empire." Second is "Sharing Economic Resources with Fellow Community Members." Third is "Hospitality to the Stranger." Fourth is "Lament for Racial Divisions Within the Church and Our Communities Combined with the Active Pursuit of a Just Reconciliation." Fifth is "Humble Submission to Christ's Body, the Church." Sixth is "Intentional Formation in the Way of Christ and the Rule of the Community Along the Lines of the Old Novitiate." Seventh is "Nurturing Common Life Among Members of Intentional Community." Eighth is "Support for Celibate Singles Alongside Monogamous Married Couples and Their Children." Ninth is "Geographical Proximity to Community Members Who Share a Common Rule of Life." Tenth is "Care for the Plot of God's Earth Given to Us Along with Support of Our Local Economies." Eleventh is "Peacemaking in the Midst of Violence and Conflict Resolution." And, finally, Twelfth is "Commitment to a Disciplined Contemplative Life." Each interesting essay is written by a person(s) associated with a specific community/house/church in the United States. Because the chapters are relatively short it will make for a good introduction (for small group discussion) around if not how to live in Christian community full-time, then how can all or most of these principles help members of a church to become more deeply involved with each other and in their Christian faith. I look forward to using this thoughful and easily readable book to provoke deep discussion in a small-group setting.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rad Zdero on May 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Rutba House's book "School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism" provides readers with a collective snapshot of an emerging American network of groups interested in recapturing some of the grassroots basics of the early church and also the spiritual values of classic monastic figures of the past like Benedict and Francis. It is referred to as the "New Monasticism." The book is the result of a conference of like-minded souls held in 2004 in Durham, North Carolina, in order to "help us discern a possible shape of a new monasticism." (page X). It contains a Preface, Introduction, and 12 subsequent chapters each outlining one of the 12 values that were discerned at the conference, namely, relocation to abandoned places, sharing goods, hospitality to strangers, lament for racial discrimination, submission to the church, spiritual formation, common life, support for singles and marrieds, geographic proximity, ecological stewardship, peacemaking, and contemplative prayer.

There are several strengths of the book (and the movement). First, it is a collective effort which helps give the reader a snapshot of the movement's diversity and depth. The variety of backgrounds and experiences of the authors adds to this sense. Second, the 12 marks are important aspects of Christian life and mission which have been forgotten in many quarters of the church (especially the financially and socially comfortable) and are rightly being re-animated. Third, real-life stories punctuate each chapter illustrating how each value is being applied practically in a variety of contexts. Fourth, it is a readable book since it is written in a conversational style that I found winsome and appealing, and it is only about 170 pages long.
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