“A Web of Subversive Friends”: New Monasticism in the United States and South Africa
2. Models of New Monasticism
3. Marks of New Monasticism
3.2. Sharing Economic Resources
3.4. Disciplined Contemplation
3.5. Resisting Empire through Friendship
4. From Strangers to Friends
4.1. Becoming Good Friends to Our Neighbors
We are a rather ordinary family doing some extraordinary things. We believe as Christians that God is extremely concerned with the brokenness in our city and nation and that He has called each one of us to get involved in making a difference. To bring change, we need to see the future, prepare for the future and then become the future … or in the words of Ghandi “we must become the change we want to see in the world.”
We want to see a world in which the rich do not tolerate extreme poverty and inequality. We want to see many people actually laying down their lives of comfort and convenience for the sake of bettering the lives of others. Seeing people freed from poverty, inequality, racism and exploitation is more important than fulfilling our lust for more things! We want to be part of a society in which people are valued more than things. We want to see the god of consumerism in South Africa bowing it’s knee to a love motivated revolution which results in freedom from oppression and exploitation. We want to see this for all people, regardless of class, citizenship, race or religion. We dream of equality in every sector of society. We believe that if the education system is not OK for a rich kid, it is not OK for a poor kid. The same goes with healthcare, housing, security. The same goes for rural kids and inner city kids. The same for black kids and white kids. We are not more valuable than the least valued in our society. We are doing our lives in a new way. We are going to live our dream and see this reality briefly described above happening around us. We hope others will join us and this will happen around them too. Who knows, very soon, the world can be a different place!
4.2. Doing It with My Friends
When asked if her black friends enjoy participating in these kinds of reversals, Nina responded “Absolutely! They are even worse than me.” Nina related how a black colleague intentionally plays up the tension whenever he senses hostility or discomfort from others.So when we are at a shop, when we are at a coffee place, let’s say, every now and then I would take some of my [black] friends or staff members out for coffee and I would usually pay because I have more money, but what I would do is I give my card to one of them. And then they know my pin, and it is so obvious, like, when the waiter comes, I always get asked first what I want. […] or we would go into the restaurant, and first I would ask the person I am with, and they [the host] would come and ask me ‘Hi maam, where do you want to sit?’ and then I just look at the person next to me, and I always let them guide the process and make decisions. So then already … It’s a small thing but it makes a statement, and then if they pay with a card, even if it is my card, we don’t show that it is my card, but they pay, and it’s like … it breaks down something, you know?
5. The Politics of Friendship
5.1. Not Quite Evangelical
5.2. Making Poverty Personal: Possibilities and Pitfalls
Conflicts of Interest
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To be sure, new monastics share with both white progressive evangelicals and black Protestants a desire to see broader institutional, legal, and structural transformation in relation to inequality. Much more than conservative evangelicals, they are inclined to see the state as a potential force for social good, even while they remain critical of how the state upholds (white racial) capitalism. This orientation distinguishes them from conservative American evangelicals who tend to strongly reject macro-level or state intervention in systemic inequality. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s participation in the Moral Monday movement or Shane Claiborne’s frequent partnership with Sojourners are good examples of how new monastics can seek to influence public policy through political action.
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Schneider, R.C. “A Web of Subversive Friends”: New Monasticism in the United States and South Africa. Religions 2018, 9, 184. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9060184
Schneider RC. “A Web of Subversive Friends”: New Monasticism in the United States and South Africa. Religions. 2018; 9(6):184. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9060184Chicago/Turabian Style
Schneider, Rachel C. 2018. "“A Web of Subversive Friends”: New Monasticism in the United States and South Africa" Religions 9, no. 6: 184. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9060184