Tantalus and the Pelican
This book combines a detailed and informative exposition of the Christian monastic tradition with the engaging story of a spiritual journey from despair and alcoholism to faith and redemption, via an ashram in India, Buddhism, academia and reality TV. Beginning...
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This book combines a detailed and informative exposition of the Christian monastic tradition with the engaging story of a spiritual journey from despair and alcoholism to faith and redemption, via an ashram in India, Buddhism, academia and reality TV. Beginning with the origins of monasticism in the deserts of Egypt during the 4th century, the book considers some of the essential features of early monastic spirituality, before going on to explore key elements of the Benedictine tradition, drawing out its profoundly counter-cultural message for our times. In the final section, the narrative turns inwards to focus on the more interior aspects of spirituality – such as prayer and silence – concluding with some reflections on the author's own vocation to the priesthood.
This is an informative and engaging book about monasticism, its history, practice, and relevance to contemporary life, combining personal insights with sound scholarship. Buxton begins with a focus on the early days of Christian monasticism and the transmission of this tradition to Western Europe, concentrating on particular themes or figures of interest and seeking to draw parallels with the present-day. He then explores the central features of monastic life, such as silence and humility, drawing on personal experience as well as foundational literature. Part three examines the contemporary relevance of monasticism, suggesting that the core Benedictine principles of stability, conversion, and obedience offer a framework for an alternative way of being that may enable our everyday lives to be enriched and even transformed.
Rev Dr Nicholas Buxton is a priest of the Church of England at Ripon Cathedral, he was one of the participants in the BBC2's The Monastery, and is the author of Tantalus and the Pelican: Being Monastic in the World.
Koorong -Editorial Review.
- Introduction; 1. Into The Desert; 2. Something More?; 3. Just Trying To Be Normal; 4. What Really Matters; 5. Eight Thoughts; 6. Benedict; 7. A Little Rule For Beginners; 8. Seeing The Self As Other; 9. Against The Grain; 10. Being Still; 11. Silence; 12. Faith And Doubt Postscript.