"not every Christian"?

Statham, GA

We got a reprieve from the concrete last night when Glenn from Jubilee invited us to stay with him at a house he was house-sitting in town. So we got to spend time with him, and also enjoy fresh farm eggs and coffee this morning.

They are having a New Monasticism "school for conversion" conference at Jubilee this weekend (we would have been there for it, but unexpected rides brought us there a week early). I don't know. I like a lot of what the New Monasticism communities are saying and doing, and we have friends involved with them. But I'm uneasy about their quickly growing popularity. And I imagine that has something to do with their connecting with the monastic model, which historically fit into society by suggesting a two-tiered spirituality—high standards for the religious "heroes," but much lower expectations for most Christians. People like that. Much less confrontational.

I noticed signs of it in the workbook they're using this weekend. In the introduction, there's a line to ease concerns right away: "Not every Christian is called to be a monastic."

Perhaps that is meant in a humble way, to say their way isn't the only right one. But I think something important is lost when we begin proclaiming something narrower (or wider?) than the Christian life, the life of following Jesus, which we are all called into. Jesus said to all, "follow me." And then lived such a radical life that most turned away and then decided he was a threat to society. He wouldn't let them accept him as a monastic. I'm also reminded of Clarence Jordan (who I quoted a couple days ago), who regularly challenged all the segregationist Christians of his time to live their faith and who was seen as a threat for his following of Jesus. From what I've heard, Koinonia didn't try to gain acceptance as a sort of monastic community of their day. They just saw it as the Christian thing to do.

But that's what gets us into trouble. If we say we have a special calling, people say fine. But if we say we're just following Jesus, doing what he said and did, then people who call themselves Christians get upset. Because we're implying that they should be following Jesus that way, too. And he did some pretty upsetting things.