Sunday, 31 August 2008

On the Correct form of Monasticism

It can hardly be denied that monastic living is not just a good way to live, but superbly beneficial to wider society. What better way to aid society, one must ask, than to engage in non-societal dwelling of a non-societal nature? But the merits of monasticism vary between the forms thereof. It would serve no one to remove oneself from societal dwelling in the wrong way!

Some have proposed the life of a hermit. Others, a collective form of holy (literally, here, "set apart") life alongside others of a similar order. (We consider here the monastries and nunneries most familiar to the reader, those of Medieval Britain, to be unholy frauds of the true model of non-societal dwelling. In such places, the doors were often known to be open to all, and attempts were made to better society in the form of rudamentary medical provision and broth for the disposessed. Such "welfare", however primative, doubtless earned monks a good deal of praise, but likely sacrificed their souls. How one can attempt to live beyond earthly societal contact, yet try to better the sinful world, beggars belief. And beggars, we shall find, rarely believe. But one digresses.)

The life of a hermit is an elephantine battle with self-importance and self-righteousness. As the hermit meditates on scripture, he will find himself unable to reconcile his attention-seeking with the message of said writings. Instead, he will find that such an overtly holy life in a cave outside town is barely preferable to the heathen oracles of old, where misguided pagans sought to consult the heretic demi-gods. "Wisdom", or some vile perversion thereof, was dispensed at high cost to the misguided soul, and to the benefit of the daemon in the hills. In exchange for morsals of food, hermits adopt the role of sage, and pronounce vague judgements on the souls seeking solace. The pained soul has access enough to scripture to garner vague pronouncements of judgement without seeking a hermit as an intermediary! So one must remain vigilant to anyone claiming wisdom of any kind, especially those seeking to present an argument on matters eternal. Such things are the subtle work of the Deciever.

It must be argued that just one monastic model will suffice. Where the individual alone in a cave is led astray by his carnal desires for food and water, and the collective monastry becomes too easily embroiled in interference with the World of the Flesh, one must look to the most practical aspects of both models of life. Having found these to be the provision of care for the poor and hungry from the monastry, and the provision of scriptural instruction from the hermit, we must cast the daemons aside at once! Of what use to the heathen are the words of even the most honest hermit? And what pagan stomach will truly be filled by a nun's broth? The redeemed must take themselves from the World of the Flesh and withdraw into solitary communities of their own. Only then will the Unbelieving recognise the chasm between this World and the next.

Such communities must not be viewed in the traditional sense of the word. Living alongside others should serve to keep the Forgiven from sinning, while vows of silence and intrusion ensure that no carnal desires are expressed between one another. Vows against such sinful frivolities of the Flesh as electricity will prevent a reliance upon all but the most central relationship between the Almighty and the Forgiven. Ten hours of personal prayer should be followed by another ten of copying scriptures, manuscripts of which should be burned for warmth to remind the Forgiven of their reliance upon the Word for all things. Self-made paper has many nutricional qualities little understood in the World of the Flesh. Children, should they be so provided in passionless union, must be educated in the arts of reading and writing only in so far as to facilitate copying Scripture. This will, hopefully, prevent them gaining by the hands of the Deciever the ability to ponder matters beyond the realm Eternal.

As has been argued, the Forgiven have no role in debate, discussion or persuasion of any sort. Academia is not the realm of the Holy man. They need not fill the pagan's stomach with broth for fear of sacrificing their own soul, and should keep scriptural understanding within their order, not to pollute it with exposure to the World of the Flesh. All forms of communication are inherently sinful, therefore, and do grave damage to the Word as given to us. Personal, private meditation on the Scriptures should form half of one's waking hours; and personal, private prayer to the Almighty the other. There is no benefit to corporate prayer, or public "wisdom" from the Scriptures. In fact, prayer of any form public is sinful in the highest, making one more like the regulation-bound Pharisee than the graceous tax collector! It is with these considerations that the present writer has lived for approaching six decades, having been snatched from the Flesh. The Promise is mine.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
These the words of Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians. The failures of every Scriptural translation are evident to the writer, but such a discussion is to be the next consideration to be made on this Weblog soon. This weblog iself is bloody good, isn't it? Anyhow, while this site is in consideration, perhaps your thoughts would be appreciated in the comments section. Your participation in the consideration of these issues would be welcome.

To close with a prayer popular in the order,
Keep us from the evils of the Flesh.
From worldly contact and communication.
From the comforts of furniture and colour and light.
From fulfilment in all but the pleasures of the Word.
Bear fruit in our solitude.

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