Feb 1, 2008
Book written by: Dennis Okholm
Author Dennis Okholm is a Presbyterian minister with an interest in Benedictine life and spirituality. Raised as a Pentecostal and a Baptist, he presents his life story and attraction to the Benedictines. Okholm became an oblate or an associate with Blue Cloud Abbey in South Dakota before becoming involved with the American Benedictine Academy. Benedictine oblates are not only Roman Catholics but also include other Christians.
Okholm examines Benedictinism from an evangelical Protestant point of view and explains to his fellow evangelicals it is all about; and that it is something they do not need to fear. To begin, he presents the Rule of St. Benedict so that they may have a better understanding of this sixth century document. He also shows how Benedictine spirituality or life is lived by the monks and nuns, but also by lay people. His chapters explore: listening, poverty, obedience, humility, hospitality, stability, balance, and how all of this and more can change the world in which we live. Okholm also points out why the Protestant Reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and others opposed monasticism due to some abuses before and after the Reformation. He is clear to point out that these fears are no longer valid and that monasticism is a good thing.
Okholm shows that Benedictine spirituality is not complicated; in fact it is quite simple and very ordinary. The ordinariness of their lives is a great asceticism in itself. One does not have to look for exotic or oriental methods of spirituality. St. Benedict compiled his Rule by picking the best from the monastic traditions before him, focusing especially on living a balanced and moderate life. His Rule is very scripturally oriented and uses the best from St. Augustine of Hippo, John Cassian, the Rule of the Master, St. Basil the Great, and other monastic founders and documents.