From Publishers Weekly
Although commitment to the traditional Christian virtue of stability isn't easy, it is the best way to encounter both the God who invites humans into community -- and, for the faithful, to do battle with the personal and societal demons that keep them from deeper faith. Cofounder of the "new monastic" community Rutba House in Durham, N.C., and author of God's Economy, Wilson-Hartgrove argues candidly that his aim is to persuade readers to "reprogram your default settings" from mobility to stability. Drawing deeply upon the work and witness of Benedictines both ancient and modern, the writer also roots his argument in Scripture and snapshots taken from the economically poor community where he and his family have chosen to live. In a fortunate coincidence, this slim volume advocating the virtue of "growing where you are planted" appears at a time when more are inclined to challenge the necessity and advantage of multitasking. Wilson-Hartgrove tends to repeat his main point, but he does it in such an engaging and passionate way that readers will go away well-informed, if not converted.
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In contemporary culture, staying put—actively maintaining stability—is often looked down upon. Stability is the antithesis, according to this viewpoint, of progress and innovation. Wilson-Hartgrove disagrees and sets out to persuade his readers to reconsider their busy lifestyles. He suggests that by paying attention, we can recover the “wisdom of stability.” Thus, he refers back to the wisdom literature of various cultures, from Lao-tzu and the Bible to the desert monastics and Thomas Merton. He refers to specific traditions, such as Benedictine spirituality, while at the same time insisting that stability can be looked on as a craft, as a rhythm to fall into—and something that can be learned by anyone. “To practice stability,” he writes, “is to learn to love both a place and its people.” He comments on lessons he has learned from the Bible as well as stories shared by family members, friends, and colleagues and concludes with a series of quotations on stability from famous saints and scholars, including Augustine of Hippo, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Sister Joan Chittister. An appealing combination of personal experience and reflection. --June Sawyers