I learned a lot about New Monasticism this week, though as is often the case with discussions regarding theology and ecclesiology, I'm left with even more questions than answers. It was good to sit and eat with Jon and Sparky and talk about NCAA basketball, long drives and what it means to be church.
The coffeehouse theology group that meets once a month also discussed this topic, and we had originally hoped to sit with Jon together, but schedules just didn't work out. The coffeehouse group helps to sustain and enrich me because the people who gather there are all committed to Christ and to truly working for the body. I hope it enriches the others as well.
In discussing New Monasticism, our discussion also involved home churches. We also touched on the topic of homeschooling, which shares some things in common with home church. One of the things that we can all acknowledge is that the internet has played a large role in growing these movements.
People who had so often felt alone, whether in removing their kids from public and private schools, or in preferring to worship in small group settings, are now able to talk about this with people in other towns, states and countries.
Certainly, the groups existed before the internet was such a cultural force in the world, but they were restricted by the costs of publishing and travel as well as the difficulty of even finding others who were thinking in similar ways.
Now, regardless of your particular interest, you can just google it. You may have to go to the second or even third page, but you will find others with similar interests. This is both blessing and curse, of course, but it's certainly a phenomenon that we didn't have 25 years ago.
We have used a very new technology to fortify ideas that are very old. New Monasticism leans heavily on the monastic orders that have been with us for ages. Public schools have only been around for minutes in the days of history. It will be interesting to see the directions that these movements take as they continue to build on the resources the internet provides.