This week, the Rule moves into looking at the community of the faithful.
First, on Sunday there was that LONG reflection on the different kinds of people who appear in a monastic community – with all those unfamiliar terms! There are cenobites (seekers who truly join a community, including choosing to be under the authority of the rules of that community), anchorites or hermits (wise and experienced people who have lived in a community but now choose to live on their own, in soliltude), sarabaites (people who present as wise and experienced, but only follow their own advice and authority) and gyrovagues (people who move from community to community, always receiving and not participating in the life of the community for the long-haul). What do you think of those categories? If you were to think about when you have been part of communities, does this ‘fit’ your experience? Can you divide people into those categories? Are there other types of people who show up, especially in faith communities, that are not listed by Benedict?
As someone who has moved around a lot, I am cautious about Benedict’s last category – the gyrovagues. I understand his distinction between really participating and simply passing through, or just looking at what “I can get from belonging here”. Yet, sometimes we are called by G-d to move onto somewhere else – and to the community we are leaving or joining, it may appear that we are not really committed.
Are there categories that make you uncomfortable?
I have to say also that as an Anglican we don’t tend to stress the rules of community. So I wonder – what is the ‘rule’ for St. Bede’s community? Do we have one? What does it mean to belong to our faith community? Is it simply a question of turning up on Sunday? (Though that’s a fairly significant thing on campus!) Is it about participating in the coffee ‘hour’ conversations? Showing up for pot-lucks? What switches someone from simply showing up at chapel to being a member of the community?
I will add more later in the week about the leaders of the community and Benedict’s throughts on leadership – but wanted to start with this…and curious to hear people’s thoughts!