In June 2004 Rutba House, an alternative Christian community in Durham, North Carolina, developed this list of ideals meant to shape the nascent “new monastic” movement, which includes The Simple Way and dozens of other groups.
A New Monasticism
Moved by God’s Spirit in this time called America to assemble at St. Johns Baptist Church in Durham, NC, we wish to acknowledge a movement of radical rebirth, grounded in God’s love and drawing on the rich tradition of Christian practices that have long formed disciples in the simple Way of Christ. This contemporary school for conversion which we have called a “new monasticism,” is producing a grassroots ecumenism and a prophetic witness within the North American church which is diverse in form, but characterized by the following marks:
1) Relocation to the abandoned places of [the American] Empire.
2) Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us.
3) Hospitality to the stranger
4) Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities
combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation.
5) Humble submission to Christ’s body, the church.
6) Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the
community along the lines of the old novitiate.
7) Nurturing common life among members of intentional community.
8) Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children.
9) Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life.
10) Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies.
11) Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18.
12) Commitment to a disciplined, contemplative life.
May God give us grace by the power of the Holy Spirit to discern rules for living that will help us embody these marks in our local contexts as signs of Christ’s kingdom for the sake of God’s world.