The Monastery and the Minivan: Accessible Monastic Practices in the Tradition of the Desert Fathyers and Mothers

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Hatcher, Joshua McCrory
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School of Theology Thesis 2020 , Monastic practices , Experiences with God , Prayer , Contemplation , Sabbath rest , Religious experience vs. intellectual
The purpose of this little reflection is to offer a humble sort of middle way; a series of contemplative monastic practices intended to be accessible to seekers from all walks of life who desire to move beyond a systematic “head knowledge” about God, and into the mystical heart-space of experience with God. Somewhere between the monastery and the minivan sits an elusive convergence of desert mother and world-weary father-of-four; of 2nd century monk and 30-something law clerk. Through an exploration of the monastic practices of prayer, contemplation, and Sabbath rest, this project seeks to bridge the chasm of accessibility and offer a humble pathway to those who wish to know from experience what they have known intellectually. This pathway rests within the perennial tradition of the Church, and upon the shoulders of the Desert Fathers and Mothers of pre-Orthodox Alexandrian tradition, of medieval mystics such as Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Therese of Lisieux, as well as modern practitioners of contemplative practice to include Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating.