In their zeal for reform, early Protestant leaders tended to throw out Saint Benedict with the holy water. That is a mistake, writes Dennis Okholm, in Monk Habits for Everyday People. While on retreat in a Benedictine abbey, the author, a professor who was raised as a Pentecostal and a Baptist, observed how the meditative and ordered life of a monk lifted Jesus' teachings off the printed page and put them into daily practice. Vital aspects of devotion, humility, obedience, hospitality, and evangelism took on new clarity and meaning. Paralleling that experience, Okholm guides the reader on a focused and instructive journey that can revitalize the devotional life of any Christian who wants to slow down and dig deeper.
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When Dennis Okholm began exploring the roots of contemporary Benedictine monasticism, he quickly found that St. Benedict has as much to offer Protestants as he does Roman Catholics. In Monk Habits for Everyday People, Okholm--a professor who was raised as a Pentecostal and a Baptist--uses his profound experience with Benedictine spirituality to show how it can enrich the lives and prayer practices of Protestants.
"As a knowledgeable pastor and theologian, Dennis Okholm proves an excellent guide. . . . This memoir, gentle in tone and often humorous, is nonetheless full of challenges to Protestant comfort zones. . . . Okholm reminds us that for all Christians, good spiritual habits are good for our spiritual health; that 'scripture is the original rule'; and that Christ is the point of it all, our true beginning and our end."
--Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk (from the foreword)
"Twenty years in the making, Dennis Okholm's Monk Habits is the perfect introduction to Benedictine spirituality for the earnest Protestant believer. In taking us on his own journey, he invites to discover Benedict of Nursia and Benedict's myriad faithful followers over fifteen centuries. This represents an important bridge between evangelicalism and Catholicism. Highly recommended."
--Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier
"The practices of Benedictine monasticism have several times brought revitalization and spiritual focus back to the worldwide church at large. In this informative and irenic book, Dennis Okholm explains how the 'rule' of Benedict did the same for him personally as an evangelical professor and Presbyterian minister. The book's winsome portrait of the Benedictines--and, through their monastic practices, of Christ--makes for a spiritual feast. The historically minded will also benefit from Okholm's careful discussion of why more Protestants should pay greater heed to the Benedictine life."
--Mark A. Noll, coauthor of Is the Reformation Over? An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Catholicism
Dennis L. Okholm (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of theology at Azusa Pacific University and the coauthor of A Family of Faith: An Introduction to Evangelical Christianity.
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