Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What An Odd Story

Or, what an odd class. 


I have no truck with the intention of the class, certainly.  In fact, I used to teach something similar once upon a time.  However, I am disappointed that the main feature of this "monastic life" is one of constraint and control.  A dress code, no electronics, no "physical contact" [I'm guessing that means chastity], no alarm clocks [?!], etc.  While these could be argued to be reflective of traditional monastic vows, there seems to be a piece missing.

Mainly, there is no mention of any type of spiritual life; no framework for the monastic discipline. Without that, which is the liberating feature of any community of faith, it just seems like cultic behavior. Maybe that's the point, I don't know.

Interestingly, in Celtic Christianity, there was no vow of chastity or gender segregation. Men and women lived together in community, married, and procreated while remaining members of the monastic order.

[While I'm at it, I should note that, in my early days in the Episcopal Church, I was a Christian monk, and am still an honorary member of a Buddhist monastery in New York, where I once lived in community for a week.  In both places, I was permitted an alarm clock and the "dress code" was only used when worshipping in community.  I smile when I see that the professor is identified as a Catholic and also a Buddhist.  On contemporary campuses, that's the equivalent of making wine safe for children by pouring a lot of water in it.  "Oh, it's okay that he's a Christian.  He's a Buddhist, too."]