This is a talk I put together from a number of sources for HS890: Resources for Radical Living, a Bethel Seminary DMin course, Jan 2011 [Key to sources provided at end of article]
SCHM: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”: (Matthew 25:35-36). These words of Christ, along with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), the almsgiving practiced in many Hebrew synagogues, and the Old Testament precedent allowing the poor to glean fields, all made a profound impression on the minds of the early Christians, and they diligently sought to emulate these practices. (125)
SCHM: Tertullian (d. ca. 220), the Latin church father in northern Africa, informs us that the early Christians had a common fund to which they gave voluntarily, without any compulsion, on a given day of the month or whenever they wished to contribute (Apology 39). This fund supported widows,  the physically disabled, needy orphans, the sick, prisoners incarcerated for their Christian faith, and teachers requiring help; it provided burials for poor people and sometimes funds for the release of slaves. [Here are Tertullian’s exact words (from one of the Christian History Money issues: “Even if there is a chest of a sort, it is not made up of money paid in entrance-fees, as if religion were a matter of contract. Every man once a month brings some modest coin—or whenever he wishes, and only if he does wish, and if he can; for nobody is compelled; it is a voluntary offering. You might call them the trust funds of piety. For they are not spent upon banquets nor drinking-parties nor thankless eating-houses; but to feed the poor and to bury them, for boys and girls who lack property and parents, and then for slaves grown old and shipwrecked mariners; and any who may be in mines, islands, or prisons ….”] Continue reading
Though the following is a critical review, I want to be clear: I am deeply sympathetic with the aims and perspectives of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. I just think we need to be historically responsible when we compare new and old movements.
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, “A Vision So Old It Looks New” in Monasticism Old and New (Christian Reflection, Baylor University, 2010 issue)
This article was adapted from Wilson-Hartgrove’s book New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today’s Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2008).
In his introduction to this issue of Christian Reflection, Robert Kruschwitz summarizes this article : “In A Vision So Old It Looks New (p. 11), Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove explores how monasticism over the centuries has offered a powerful critique of mainstream culture. Tracing its origins from Antony and the fourth-century desert Christians, through the medieval monasteries inspired by Benedict of Nursia, to the intentional communities of radical Protestant Reformers, he shows, ‘In every era God has raised up new monastics to pledge their allegiance to God alone and remind the church of its true vocation’” (8).
Wilson-Hartgrove opens the article: “It is hard to be a Christian in America today. . . . The church in America is not living up to what it claims to be. Somehow we have lost our way.” (11) Especially he gives examples of behavior: spousal abuse, racism, hypocrisy in areas of sexuality. We ain’t that different from secular society, or sometimes worse, in many of those areas. Continue reading
Posted in Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants, Resources for Radical Living
Tagged African-American Christianity, Antony of Egypt, Benedict of Nursia, Benedictinism, church and state, communal life, Constantine, Constantinianization, Council of Nicea, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Martin Luther, Medieval, medievalism, Middle Ages, monasticism, new monasticism, prophetic life, radical Christianity, slavery
This is the third in a series of posts on the Resources for Radical Living course(s) and book by Mark Van Steenwyk and me (Chris Armstrong). The first post presented the original version of the course. The second presented the revised structure of the course and book.
This third post presents the revised list of case studies.
Even more important, this post asks you, dear readers, to comment on these case studies and suggest any primary or secondary readings that you think will help Mark and me as we work on these new case studies and our students as they plunge into this challenging area of “radical Christian living.” Continue reading
Posted in Resources for Radical Living
Tagged African-American Christianity, base communities, Benedict of Nursia, Benedictines, Bethel Seminary, black church, Catholic Worker Movement, communal life, compassionate life, Daniel Berrigan, devoted life, Dorothy Day, Ernesto Cardenal, Francis of Assisi, Franciscans, John Chrysostom, John Wesley, liberation theology, Mark Van Steenwyk, Martin Luther King Jr., Methodism, pacifism, penitential life, Philip Berrigan, poverty, prophetic life, slavery, the poor, war, Wendell Berry
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Last summer, Mark Van Steenwyk and I taught a Bethel Seminary course called HS-ML729: Resources for Radical Living. Now we are preparing to teach the course again in Bethel’s winter 2011 term, in both a Masters and a DMin mode.
Version 2.0 of the course will be different from version 1.0, both in its basic structure and in the figures and movements we will be studying under the rubrics of the prophetic life, the compassionate life, the penitential life, the devotional life, and the communal life.
We will still explore, under each of these five thematic areas, two figures/movements from Christian history and today–making a total of 10 case studies. But both the framework and the case studies will change. This post outlines the new and, we hope, improved structure. The revised list of case studies (figures and movements) we will cover in version 2.0 can be found here. The first post in this series of three presented the original version of the course. Continue reading
After a busy first half of the summer, Mark Van Steenwyk (of the Missio Dei community and the www.jesusmanifesto.com webzine) and I met a few days ago to update our “Resources for Radical Living” course in anticipation of teaching both a Masters and a DMin version of it this coming winter. Over several hours of woodshedding, we made some significant changes, which will also ripple through to our proposed book. I’ll post on the changes in a moment, but first, here are the basic rationale and structure for the course and book, including the figures and movements we used in the first iteration of the course:
[See also post 2 of this series, describing the revised structure of this course, and post 3, giving the revised set of case studies]
Resources for Radical Living
American Christians today—especially 20- and 30-somethings—are going to church and asking: “Is that all there is?” They are aware that those outside the church don’t want to hear about their religion unless they can see it in the way they act. They are aware of the critique leveled by such teachers as Ron Sider and Tony Campolo—that evangelical Christians just don’t look that different from the rest of the world in key areas of behavior and social practice. Continue reading