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Of crizzle and queezemadam: New monasticism alive and well in Southern Ohio

December 3, 2011

Ok the first part of that title has nothing to do with this post but I really wanted to incorporate a couple new words I learned and abused yesterday after playing Balderdash with some new friends.

The past couple days were spent with representatives from 2 communal groups: one from Franklinton (near Columbus) and the other from Athens, the Common Friars of Good Earth Farms. We gathered with Bishop Breidenthal (the Episcopal Bishop of Southern Ohio) and Jane Gerdsen, missioner of Fresh Expressions in the diocese. There is so much I want to say about this time it will likely take a few posts not to mention permission from those who were there. But I wanted to start with a few personal reflections.

Our time began appropriately in play. I had the honor of demolishing Kelly Latimore, a common friar, in Corn Hole. My retreat at that point was off to a good start. Next we broke out the wine along with the game Balderdash and proceeded to laugh for the next couple of hours at fake definitions for impossible words. I did not fair so well in the competition but if we measured the game in laughter we all won.

At this point I’m already up way past my bed time (it’s after 9:00 pm!) and we move into a time of compline prayers followed by informal conversation of updates about current community joys and challenges that takes us well past midnight… what I’m realizing at this point is these folks are in the thick of real community and mission issues… and I’m starting to really like them and truly care about their challenges. But I’m also falling asleep so I retire for the night.

I wake up to a sunrise slowly lighting up the chapel with a bluish orange glow. I do the morning office from the Book of Common Prayer aware that I’m in a what the Celts call “a thin place” where the veil between heaven and earth is unusually transparent.

Our first gathering of the morning is for Eucharist in the chapel at 10am. The gospel for the day is one of my favorites: Luke 10. A little back story on that passage. After my friends Chad and Palmer died within 10 days of each other (several years ago) Tracy and I (and several others) committed to pray daily at 10:02 am that God would raise up workers to to carry on the work they started and fulfill the dreams they carried. We got the time 10:02 from Luke 10.2 which says “Ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up workers for the harvest is great but the workers are few.” So literally everyday a little alarm goes off on my phone and Tracy’s and we pray that simple prayer. So as that Scripture is being read yesterday morning my alarm (silently) is going off. The thin place got even thinner and I sense a Divine timing that could not have been better orchestrated. Jane opened the floor for sharing after the reading and reflection and I shared briefly of the loss of my friends, the daily prayer, and how I felt like God was answering the prayer in that moment by this very gathering…

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 23, 2012 6:00 am

    I am intrigued. I found your blog while reading Brother Lawrence. Your journey from Vineyard to ?? is so interesting. In 2009 I was snatched from my office in Calif. and taken to heaven where, after 38 years in the ministry, a Christophany changed my life as much as my conversion during the Jesus People Movement in 1970.

    The visitation left me incapacitated for several days (no driving, little leaving of the house). And of course left me sure that I could not stay in a church wherein worshippers sang what they did not mean.

    I was led to the most wonderful church and am so happy. But, never did I, as an evangelical would be rocked to my core by such as Saint John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila and Father Thomas Dubay who wrote, “The Fire Within.”

    Your speaking about Monasticism and neomonasticism intrigues me. If and when you have time could you just give me a brief cross-section of your heart on the subject. If you have written somewhere about it, just copy and paste.

    God’s best to you in an era where HE is changing the face of the Church.

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