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Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove

Shortly before the United States began bombing Iraq in 2003, Jonathan and his wife, Leah, travelled there as members of a Christian Peacemaker Team determined to tell Iraqis that American Christians did not all support the war. Their experiences became the subject of ‘To Baghdad and Beyond’ (Cascade Books: 2005), which describes the couple’s conversion to the “new monasticism.” The Rutba House, where Jonathan and Leah live with their family and friends is a new monastic community that prays, eats, and lives together, welcoming the homeless to join them as brothers and sisters.

‘New Monastics’ come from a variety of religious backgrounds, from Presbyterian to Pentecostal. The 12 “marks” of new monasticism are outlined in the book ‘School(s) for Conversion’ (Cascade Books: 2005). The book ‘The New Friars’ describes their call through the voice or a volunteer member, “Enter into the ministry of sitting around, Take time to sit with the garbage collectors. Sip tea. Smoke a hookah… Enter reality by releasing ourselves from the compulsion to do in order to take time to be”.

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Marks of the New Monasticism

1)  Relocation to the abandoned places of 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.