Staying put: vow of stability

Some interesting things in the new issue of On the Road, the journal of the Anabaptist Association of Australia and New Zealand.

In a lengthy article, Mark Hurst explores the common threads of Anabaptism and New Monasticism. He quotes at length from Schlabach’s essay “The vow of stability : a premodern way through a hypermodern world”. The quote is a challenge to my life:

Benedict’s rule requires a “vow of stability” – the uniquely Benedictine commitment to live in a particular monastic community for life. At first, this may seem to apply least of all amid our way of life. Yet precisely because it contrasts so sharply with the fragility of most commitments in our hypermodern society, the Benedictine vow of stability may speak more directly to our age than anything else in the Rule…

It is no use rediscovering any of our church’s roots, nor discerning innovative ways to be faithful to our church’s calling, if we won’t slow down, stay longer even if we can’t stay put indefinitely, and stake something like a vow of stability. Slow down – because postmodernism may be hypermodernism. Stay longer – because there is no way to discern God’s will together without commitment to sit long together in the first place. A vow of stability – because it is no use discerning appropriate ways to be Christian disciples in our age if we do not embody them through time, testing, and the patience with one another that our good ideas and great ideals need, in order to prove their worth as communal practices.

I have pretty much swallowed the contemporary myth that freedom is the failure to make deep connections or commitments to a place. I’ve moved about thirteen times in the ten years of my adult life.

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