Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Friday, March 18, 2005

New Monasticism

For those interested in more intentional community living, check out the New Monasticism. They are putting out a collection of essays in the form of a book called the 12 Marks of New Monasticism.

In the first mark of the book ‘Relocation,’ the author describes a few of the societies that have sought abandoned places from the Empire. Even though relocation to these abandoned places meant residing in an unconventional area like a desert or inner city, followers saw naturalness, openness and unconventional beauty. The faith of these pilgrims was that Christ’s love could spring forth a new Eden from any desert. Instead of impressiveness, a community seeks ordinariness as their trademark.

One such society is the New Jerusalem Now community. Residing with north central Philadelphia, these former homeless drug and alcohol addicts seek to “relocate” themselves from life on the streets to a new life based on spirituality. The community peruses to support and encourage each other conquer the battle against these ever-present demons. They do so in a spirit of acceptance, love and mercy.

The philosophy of New Jerusalem is that you cannot fully recover from addiction to drugs and alcohol as an individual, without helping the society that made you sick recover.

After reading that sentence I had to stop and re-read it again. And then again. And again. The community seeks not to help itself only, but to redeem the society that made them sick in the first place. In effect, they are eradicating the “Powers” from their own surrounding by forgiving it and actively pursuing reconciliation. The New Jerusalem Now community is continually renewed and healed of their brokenness by blessing their environment.