NEWS: The Emerging Christian Monasticism

Evangelical Christianity is always changing. This is nothing new. What is new, however, is the growing interest in contemplative spirituality and a “new monasticism” amongst some young evangelicals. Speaking of Faith’s Krista Tippett offers a look into a movement difficult to classify—one beyond the conventional right/left binary. Shane Claiborne, founding member of The Simple Way, is one of the leading voices in this movement. Tippett notes Claiborne’s book, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, as a collection of stories which reveal the underreported side of evangelicalism’s evolution. “Shane Claiborne,” notes Tippett, “exhibits a capacity I’ve observed in others his age and younger—an ease of movement, in thought and conversation, between what is ancient and what is modern, what is local and what is global.” Are these young “revolutionaries” the answer to what has polarized American politics and religion? Some may contend that the culture wars continue, observes Tippett, albeit in newer, emerging forms. While she recalls other historical figures and considers Claiborne’s potential cultural impact, the full scope of what young evangelicals actually represent is yet to be determined. While they embrace an ethic of social justice and simple living are they (at the core) still evangelical? Is this “revolution” merely a call to a way of living also embraced by many pietists and holiness Protestants? Is this simply another example of Protestants adopting elements of Catholic models of lived religion? Read Krista’s journal entry here. For more on Speaking of Faith and Claiborne, click here.

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