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Posts Tagged ‘monasticism’

Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 8: Psalms In the Beginning

By Chris HokeJuly 5, 2018

I always privately hated the psalms. Most of them, anyway. As a teenager, I’d leaf through the Bible’s songbook quite often and feel it was full of self-pity and self-righteousness, often launching into bombastic praise of God and two lines later wishing curses on enemies. I didn’t understand why Christians still used the psalms, and…

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Monasticism In Lockdown America, Part 7: Holy Fool

By Chris HokeJune 25, 2018

Hank’s trembling confession that he’d be killing God if he killed another inmate had charged the small jail visitation cell where I sat discussing the image of God with three men from the infirmary. I pulled out the last of three “icons” and passed it around. It was a color printout of the crumbling Sphinx…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 6, Icons

By Chris HokeJune 21, 2018

The jail staff asked if I would meet with some of the guys in the infirmary. I sat down at the small, bare table in a cramped lawyer visitation cell, and three men in red scrubs squeezed by each other to take their seats with me. One of them was Hank, an old man with…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 5, Holy Elders

By Chris HokeJune 14, 2018

With their white beards and deep lines in their faces, the older men stand out in our jail Bible study’s circle of usually-young men with either tattoos on the outsides of their arms or track marks on the insides. I’m always struck by the old men’s humility, how they don’t tell the whippersnappers to shut…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 4, Asceticism

By Chris HokeJune 7, 2018

Monks in the Orthodox tradition have long believed that God’s love is unchanging, constant, like the light of the sun. We do not need to appease a deity’s anger or perform well to turn the light of God’s affection and gaze upon us. It’s just there, divine mercy blazing away, pouring down all the time.…

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Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 3, Exercises

By Chris HokeMay 31, 2018

I recognized the Orthodox monks’ prostrations I’d learned in the monastery in the “burpees” the guys showed me after they were home from prison—exercising alongside them in their driveways and garages, my heart thumping in my throat and a sweat in my shirt sooner than I expected. The homies in their tight tank tops and…

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On Monks, Conversion, and Radio Astronomy, Part 2

By Richard ColeJanuary 18, 2018

On my second day at the abbey, I bounced around, trying to listen, to feel, to be in the moment like Carmen advised. It was a tough slog. “Waste time. Waste time,” I told myself, checking my watch. At lunch with the brothers, I casually mentioned that I was in the RCIA (Rite of Christian…

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Of Monks, Conversion, and Radio Astronomy, Part 1

In the middle of life, I fell in love. For my forty-ninth birthday, my wife Lauren gave me a three-day visit by myself at a monastery in South Texas. I went there simply to read for a while and relax. I wasn’t a believer in much of anything, I wasn’t religious, and while I was…

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Something’s Not Working

By Caroline LangstonSeptember 16, 2011

The old red brick convent rises two big ghost-floors above the larger, L-shaped main level. It is not a romantic building in the classic, sprawling sense of what the word “convent” might connote, like the Sisters of St. Joseph’s giant Mt. Saint Mary Convent in Wichita, or the Poor Clares’ walled and flamboyant nineteenth-century complex…

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Acedia, Philip Marlowe, and Me

By Andy WhitmanJune 17, 2011

In IT terms, I am an asynchronous reader. I frequently read two or three books simultaneously, and that can sometimes lead to strange juxtapositions. I’m currently reading Kathleen Norris’s Acedia and Me and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. It’s the monastic tradition and seedy L.A. detective grit. And it’s creating some fairly bizarre cognitive dissonance…

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