Thursday, September 28, 2006


When a man becomes a monk, one of the vows he takes is stability. This means that the monk commits himself to a particular group of people and to a particular place. Unless there is a special reason or a need for him to be elsewhere, the monk will generally live his entire life in the same place and with the same people who persevere along with him. Stability is a difficult concept in a culture where 50% of all marriages fail and everyone seems to be on the move. Many people I know were born somewhere other than where they live. So what does stability mean for those of us in the world? It can mean being faithful to commitments or to a particular community or church or even employer. There's nothing wrong with advancing your career or moving to a new city but why do some feel the constant need to do so? I think what stability might ask of us is to think beyond our own needs. Stability might be challenging us about our own restlessness. Why are so many people unrooted? Why are so many like tumbleweeds rather than oak trees? Why are we so reluctant to plant ourselves and take deep root? Stability is tough in our culture of restless and wandering spirits. In some instances, it means staying in the same field and “chewing my cud” instead of always looking for the perfect situation. Stability must also be balanced with the idea of God calling us forth. Grace involves movement. Of course, that movement is often internal and doesn’t necessarily involve a change of geography. Community cannot be build without the stability of its members. Stability is definitely counter cultural in this country.

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