Commitment and Discipline

The Modern Monk Project and the Blog in particular have been a labour of love. As a person with a keen interest in how one might find the rhythm and pace of monastic life working in the modern world outside the confines of the monastery, I love it. As a natural writer, I love it. Maintaining a steady load of output in terms of the blog and materials production, especially when ones day work is not connected to the project – well, that’s the labour part!!

But what I have learned during my recent hiatus from blogging regularly (if I ever did blog regularly!) is that ones ability to do something like this is essentially connected to commitment and discipline.

Monastic life takes on commitment and discipline to the vows, values and ideals of the Gospel and the community. It is an attempt to engage in a life of purpose, meaning, depth and growth:
– with God, others and ourselves;
– through our vocation, careers and relationships;
– by being stewards of out talents, treasure and time;
– not for gold and glory, but for God and the gospel.

Some time ago an experiment was conducted where a playground was placed in the middle of a large field. A bus load of children were brought in and told to go and play. All the children mainly clung to the equipment never venturing more than a few metres away.

After taking the children away, a large fence was constructed about 30m from the edge of the playground surrounding the equipment completely. Again a bus load of children were brought in and told to go and play. This time, the children freely ran and played not only on the equipment but all the way to the boundary fence.

The experiment was used to illustrate the importance of boundaries. Boundaries, rules and the like are not there to be draconian and overwhelming -particularly those given to us by God. That’s not to say that they can be created, used or interpreted to be burdensome. But good boundaries and rules give us a clear indication of where it is safe to run and experiment and play – we need not cling to the centre, but can venture out knowing the the rules will show us how far it is safe to go before we can expect trouble.

I have come to realise that the values and ideals that I seek through engaging in The Modern Monk a Project must be approached in a spirit of commitment and discipline.

I am excited about rebooting The Modern Monk Project. I have a new found passion centred in a dedication to the commitment and discipline of the task at hand. In fact, the planning phases of the past few weeks have conjured up all kinds of good things – things that will require even more work than previously. But I take joy in knowing that the boundary is in place, the schedule has been set and the time to run and play and experiment within the borders of my playground is now.

I look forward to you joining together with me. See you in a week for The Modern Monk Project (v2.0) Reboot!!

Br Mark G
Feast of Christ the King, 2013

Related posts:

  1. Routine & Discipline: On being ones own Abbot(!)

One Response to “Commitment and Discipline on “Commitment and Discipline”

  • But more recently, we have embarked on an experiment to rid our cities of children. In the 1960s, sociologist Herbert Gans identified a growing chasm between family-oriented suburbanites and people who favored city life—“the rich, the poor, the non-white as well as the unmarried and childless middle class.” Families abandoned cities for the suburbs, driven away by policies that failed to keep streets safe, allowed decent schools to decline, and made living spaces unaffordable. Even the partial rebirth of American cities since then hasn’t been enough to lure families back. The much-ballyhooed and self-celebrating “creative class”—a demographic group that includes not only single professionals but also well-heeled childless couples, empty nesters, and college students—occupies much of the urban space once filled by families. Increasingly, our great American cities, from New York and Chicago to Los Angeles and Seattle, are evolving into playgrounds for the rich, traps for the poor, and way stations for the ambitious young en route eventually to less congested places. The middle-class family has been pushed to the margins, breaking dramatically with urban history. The development raises at least two important questions: Are cities without children sustainable? And are they desirable?

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