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Paperback Flirting with Monasticism: Finding God on Ancient Paths Book

ISBN: 0830836020

ISBN13: 9780830836024

Flirting with Monasticism: Finding God on Ancient Paths

This is the true story of Karen Sloan's breathlessly confusing and ultimately fulfilling year in the company of a Dominican novitiate. Flirting with Monasticism is a courtship of sorts: a young would-be pastor learning ancient prayers and practices from young would-be priests. As you enter into this story you'll gain a fresh appreciation for the many ways we pray, worship and serve, and a deeper understanding of our unfolding relationship with God...

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A Lovely Tale of a Jouney

Karen Sloan's book is simultaneously a introductory discussion of the traditions of western monasticism and a narrative of a portion of her personal journey through her relationships and her faith. What I found so wonderful aobut this book was the authenticity and openness with which the narrrative is told. We see Reverend Sloan's discovery of one of the most ancient traditins of her faith and the journey of spiritual formation she takes within her desire to understand it. The only quibble I might have about the book is that it only addresses one monastic expression, (that of the Dominicans) without much conversation about the other monastic traditions in the West (i.e.-monastic expression in married life or in cloistered life) or the traditions of monasticism found in the Orthodox church. On the other hand, as strength of Sloan's writing is found in that she is drawing directly from the experiences of her journey, inclusion of these would have seemed out of place. I would recommend this book to anyone who is unfamiliar with monasticism and is interested in understand that path in spiritual formation.

Real, Enlightening and Unexpected.

This book was a pleasure to read. The combination of personal narrative writing and 'off the beaten path' subject matter captured my attention, I read it all in one sitting. The author's own story and feelings play an integral part in the book, yet they do not detract from learning about the monastic life and thought. The classic monastic books, Practice of the Presence of God and the like are great, but they assume much context. The author does a great job of conveying that context to those who may not be familiar with it. An experiential book, a journey book, but one that is actually about something. Excellent.

Flirting With My Past

Even though Karen wouldn't sign my book with "disciples do it religiously", I still must highly recommend this, her first wonderful paperback! Being a Lutheran (ELCA) who grew up Roman Catholic (parochial school, nuns, rosaries, et al), I have expended too much effort intellectually analyzing and usually rejecting the RC traditions which were integral to my faith formation. Karen's chronicle of her journey into these traditions from an outsider's perspective is refreshing and liberating to me. There truly IS beauty and spirituality in some of those pomp, circumstance and icon-infused paths. This book is an easy, enjoyable read. Pastor Karen's high energy and love of the Lord are clearly revealed. Both of my daughters (21 and 19 years old) have a copy. It's appropriate for both young adults and older folks like me alike. Former and current Roman Catholics, and emergents should put this book on their must-read list. All readers will find insightful observations wrapped in a captivating story.

Rediscovering Monasticism

This is a wonderfully auto-biographical search for Christian community which starts with the prospects of connecting with a potential husband, but points toward a spousal relationship with Christ in monastic community. Ms. Sloan taps into a need that has been constant since the foundations of God's creation: "it is not good for man to be alone." This community life finds its first realization in the human family as it embodies trinitarian love: the two become one and this one begets three. Yet, this is a need that human family cannot fully satisfy: the need for communion with God and Him alone. This need has borne fruit in God's calls to the solitary life of hermits and also to the communal monastic tradition. While these communities flourished from the 5th through the early 20th centuries, the monastic life has seen a serious decline these days. What's more, the general Protestant turning-away from the traditional Christian practice of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom has largely hidden monasticism and cloaked it as some kind of forgotten medieval superstition. Yet, the desire to live the Christian life in a radical way has not abated. More and more people are desiring to live this life in communities of like-hearted souls. People are REDISCOVERING the long-standing monastic tradition of the Church. This story is a story of Ms. Sloan DISCOVERING monasticism. She narrates her story to us with a tremendous willingness to open up the journey of her heart so that she might share with us the fruits of her contemplation--to use a Dominican motto. You will find in this book a "way in" to the life of monastic spirituality. She shares her delight, frustration, hesitation, and exhileration over so many different or strange practices: the wearing of a habit, the Mass, the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, life lived in community, vows, obedience to a superior, etc. Encountering all of these practices in her experiences with the Dominicans, Ms. Sloan does not simply describe them as though she's writing a history or sociology textbook. Rather, she wonderfully recounts her experiences of these practices and what they meant to her and how they changed her as she walked this path in her mega-church--seminary--pastoral shoes. Her "flirting" with Brother Emmanuel was an interesting part of this book. At times it was clear that Ms. Sloan was sharing some very personal parts of her journey with the reader. This intimate sharing was suprising and gave me the feeling of accompanying her in many of the experiences: discovering them, delighting in them, and crying over them at times. As a Catholic I was somewhat annoyed with the editorial practice of not capitalizing the words, "Mass," and "Church." Certainly not capitalizing "church" comes out of theological reasons, but the "Mass" is a proper name for Catholic worship--my apologies if that sounds nit-picky to some. Yet, I always felt that Ms. Sloan treated Catholicism with a
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