This past weekend I had the pleasure of sitting under the teaching of Dr. Elaine Heath, who is Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology. Her topic was “New Monasticism.” She shared ways that people can band together in intentional communities, and what it would take for that to be successful. Elaine, with a group of others, has formed the institute for Missional Wisdom. This institute has proposed a “Rule of Life” for those who want to commit to living in community. I would like to set forth this rule as not only a way to live in community, but also a way for individuals to live a Christ centered life. I want to share it with you today.
RULE OF LIFE
Our Rule of Life is based Wesley’s General Rules, the membership vows of the United Methodist Church and St. Benedict’s Rule. We believe this rule opens our eyes to God’s grace, balances life and enables us to pursue holiness in all aspects of daily living.
OUR RULE OF LIFE
- We will pray daily
- We will use a variety of forms of prayer such as the reflective reading of Scripture and other spiritual texts, confession, the prayer of Examen, intercession, journaling, and contemplation.
- We will fast from food once a week (either a full or partial fast)
- We will practice a contemplative stance in order to be present to God, the world, and ourselves
- We will be hospitable to our neighbors in our families, neighborhoods and workplaces
- We will be hospitable to our faith community through participation in our worship, fellowship and mission
- We will honor and care for the gift of the earth and its resources, practicing ecologically responsible living, striving for simplicity rather than excessive consumption
- We will practice generosity in sharing our material resources, including money, within and beyond this community
- We will serve God and neighbor out of gratitude for the love of God
- We will practice mutual accountability with a covenant group within the community, for how we serve God and neighbor
- We will practice regular Sabbath as a means of renewal so that we can lovingly serve God and neighbor
- We will practice racial and gender reconciliation
- We will resist evil and injustice
- We will pursue peace with justice
- We will share the redeeming, healing, creative love of God in word, deed and presence as an invitation to others to experience the transforming love of God.
I commit to this rule of life and to the well-being of this community, out of gratitude to God who forgives, heals, and makes all things new. May my life be a blessing within and beyond God’s church, for the transformation of the world.