Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Doctorate in the Practices of Monastic Spirituality

Congratulations to Gary Stuckey, with news last week that his doctoral thesis has gained examiners approval and he will graduate Doctor Gary in May. I’ve been working with Gary for the last four years on his Doctor of Ministry. It was a fascinating project that mixed having a go, critical reflection and deep reading in the Christian tradition.

Essentially Gary tried to plant a fresh expression of monastic spirituality. He used a short course approach, offering a year long training in monastic spirituality. At the same time, in order to rigourously test his practice, he sought to measure participant’s spiritual experience, at the start, middle and end.

His thesis reflects on his learnings, all the while reading deeply from across the centuries in how monastic patterns were developed and how they sought to form faith. At the same time, Gary becomes increasingly dis-enchanted with what he considers the historical rootlessness of much of what currently trades as new monasticism.

Finding Your Inner Monk: Development, Presentation and Assessment of the Effectiveness of a Program Introducing the Practices of Monastic Spirituality

With a growing interest in monastic spirituality, Gary Stuckey developed and presented a program introducing participants to historic monastic spirituality and its contemporary significance, and spiritual practices drawn from the Benedictine tradition. His thesis assessed the effectiveness of the program in enhancing participant’s spiritual experience as measured by the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale. The project also identified each participant’s spirituality type with a view to determining whether or not it was people with a more contemplative nature who were attracted to and benefited from the program. Gary found that the program did help enrich people’s spiritual experience. The resource material presented, the learning of and reflecting on spiritual practices, and discussion with other participants were major factors in the outcome. While most participants were of a contemplative type, not all were. Those who were not generally benefited from the program, opening the possibility of its wider application in the future.

It was a fascinating and multi-faceted project to supervise, by a creative, dedicated and hard-working person.

Posted by steve at 12:32 PM

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

what dreams may come 2

This week he emailed, wondering, could he explore combining theological formation and his internet skills? And yes, he had read, and resonnated, with some of my thinking on the place of cybermonks in the future church.

“Cybermonks: Internet use is a form of tourism. Cybertourists search for identity in an arena so vast it acts as a level playing field in which all have equal access to its riches. Traveling in cyberland involves a form of pilgrimage, including the ritual of leaving home (dialing up) to wander an interconnected world of conversation and spiritual resources, before returning home by logging off.

In this world, the emerging church needs cybermonks to act as spiritual guides. They blog their stories with image, narrative, and experience. They design websites to provide spiritual resources online. This is not a modern “come to us because we have a great worship service.” This is a postmodern “here are our spiritual resources, feel free to try-before-you-buy.” The cybermonk is a new missionary calling.” (Excerpt from my out of bounds church? book, 95.)

And so we talked; about ways to integrate technical and spiritual, about “economies of grace” and ways to subvert the market and express the Kingdom.

monastery.JPG Might this be the first “monk” in an Opawa postmodern monastic order?

For more on cybermonks and postmodern monasteries; read out of bounds church? book. For the first draft of my concept of “postmodern monasteries” (written a year before the book) go here. For additional, updated, resources (written since my book was published) ; go to (postcard 7) of my book blog.

Posted by steve at 10:02 AM

Thursday, March 17, 2005

postmodern monastery in amsterdam

Karel, from Amsterdam is asking for prayer for what could be a cool new adventure.

Hey Steve,

Let me introduce myself: I’m a philosophy-student living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Over the past years I’ve been involved in setting up and facilitating to different networks in the world of music & arts and working on social justice.

I’ve been very intrigued and fascinated by a lot of the writings on your website. Especially the paper/dream about ‘the postmodern monastery’ really spoke to me as it so much look like the dreams I had over the past few years.

(Karel is probably talking about a rant I did about postmodern monasteries here, which still gets lots of visits. It’s also updated and put in a larger missional context; alongside festival spirituality, art collectives and house churches in postcard 7 of my book. Anyhow, back to the email)

This leads me to the following: At the minute we’re talking to the head of a Franciscan fraternity in Amsterdam who have their monastery + church up for sale. It’s going really quick now as we’ll have a meeting to discuss our proposal next friday. It would be the best place ever to start a postmodern monastery – in the heart of the old city and with the history of a Franciscan fraternity. We want it to be a place for new media, visual arts, community, and for people working together on social justice … pray with us for God’s guidance in this process – both for us and the brothers from the fraternity who have to make the decision … pray to our God for guidance in this project…

Praying for you Karel as I type …

Posted by steve at 11:36 AM

Monday, February 09, 2004

postmodern monastery


A while ago I wrote a paper on a postmodern monastery and a number of you asked for a copy. It’s sketchy and dreamy and I want to do more work on it. But you can now download the paper on a postmodern monastery here.

Usual creative commons copyright – you can’t make money from it and if you use it you need to acknowledge the source. Usual rules of courtesy apply – if you download it, email to say thanks and give me some feedback on it, so that I grow as part of the process.

How does that sound?

Posted by steve at 08:55 PM