I read this book as a part of my masters class on holiness theology. Purkiser died 15 years ago, so I am not able to write him a letter to ask about some of his decisions in this book. Too bad. He was a pastor in the holiness movement and his publsher assures us that he is well liked.
The book works as a text book, as a resource for papers, but don’t expect to be inspired. It is a tedious survey of every scripture that even faintly leans into holiness theology. There are lots of block quotes, making a 230 page book out of a 150-er. However, wordiness is next to godliness when you have to write a ten page paper on holiness.
And now, here are some wonderful quotes and insights from the book:
>p.16 on Bonhoeffer, He “spoke out against any form of ‘cheap grace’ which promises forgiveness without calling for the living of a new life.”
> I think there is something about the way that holiness and fire equally induce a reaction of awe. This needs to be investigated…my thoughts
>p.26 “He who sanctifies others must himself be holy”
—-what are the implications of this statement on holiness and marriage?
Chapter two is much longer and much more stern as it deals with leaderhsip principles for the abbot of the monastary. He is compared to Jesus within the community and told that his life, actions and teachings must be holy and in accordance with that representation.
This chapter is so essential for youth ministers for a couple of reasons:
1. Youth ministers are looked up to and watched by students
2. Youth ministers must consider their methods in light of the students they are ministering to. What worked for a particular group/generation may not work for the following group/generation.
3. Youth ministers must be kind to those that are receptive and have the wisdom to recognize rebellion and pride in the students they lead. This is a hard thing for sure, as it is not a fun job to be able to confront anyone about their attitude. Church people tend to talk a lot behind the minister’s back and when it gets back to the minister it hurts like a knife in the back. This is why I, personally, try to spend my time with Christians and not with church people. In this chapter the Abbot is actually instructed to use physical harm to chastise the proud and disobedient. Could you imagine a youth pastor doing that today? Or even an Abbot?
4. To whom much has been trusted much will be expected. Today’s church is being influenced by youth pastors. This is why I think churches are dumb for hiring untrained, unexperienced, unteachable youth pastors – and being surprised when the church is paying for it 10-20 years later. Perhaps the un-whatever pastors should take care of the oldest, most steady, people and eventually be able to move downwards in age-specific ministry. This is part of the reason I think this chapter on the role of the Abbot is for youth ministers more than any other minister (senior, family, associate, music, etc.)
Above all other things, the Abbot is responsible for the souls of those under his care. May God strengthen those souls and lead the Abbot in the most holy ways as the Lord gives an increase in a worthy fold.
I treated myself to a read of Douglas Coupland’s Jpod over the weekend. A really great book. You can find the details of the plot online, but the great thing for me was watching the way he moved the morality of the characters around. It is a view of life without a standard of morality, a metanarrative if you will, a Scripture if you won’t. I love Coupland’s work – his creativity is inspirational to me. Without the book right in front of me, here’s some striking things that will surely come up in conversation.
> The largest prime number under 100,000 is 99,991
> You cannot fake creativity or competency. You can try, but those who are creative and/or competent will see through you.
> Douglas Coupland has become the anti-icon in generation x. This is mainly because he gave the non-x a definition of the generation who strongly desires to be defined by a resistance to definition.
(For the canadian readers, he ends the book with an absolutely hillarious little paragraph – it’s plain rad. however, the american readers may think he’s swearing. So, canucks, check it out. amercians, read more dan brown and wonder who jesus’ girlfriend was…..)
I had to read this book for my masters counselling class. It is 595 pages with 100 pages of notes tacked on the end. It is so thorough! Not an easy read, nor a fun read, but such a good tool to have and there was much learning found within its pages. I don’t have quotes or anything, but I would reccommend this book to pastors to be on your shelf for practical help in your counselling situations.
There is a new edition out, which I link to in the title slide. My edition came out in the 80’s so the information on AIDS is pretty dated. It was a lot like reading a world war II propaganda pamphlet. Funny, but sad.
Anyways – it’s a long book, but it’s a good book.
The first rule outlines four different types of monks.
1. Cenobites – those who live under a rule and an Abbot.
2. Hermits – those who have developed exceptionally well in the Cenobite stages and are ready for individual life of prayer and battle against the devil.
3. Sarabites – no rule, no Abbot. They live in smaller groups and treat holiness like a cafeteria, choosing what they fancy to be good or evil.
4. Landlopers – sensual monks who travel about and live freely with no inhibitions or contribution.
The rule calls the Cenobites the most valiant way, and tracks that way for the rest of the chapters. The Sarabites seem to have descendents today – and more and more appearing in what they claim to be the emerging church. I wonder at what point these people, who deny historical orthodoxy, cease to be a part of the church. It is not for me to judge, but it is a dangerous path when a small group of people make judgements for themselves in isolation from the current and historical Christian commuinty. The Landlopers are probably akin to the modern day evangelistic movement that puffs up statistics in order to gain monetary support. Those who know these organizations, know what it looks like – and it is U-G-L-Y ugly. You can go to Mike Kings’ blog (in the roll-out) for a stellar couple of posts on this stuff.
What kind of a monk am I becoming? That is the question this chapter asks me.
There are some who believe that youth ministry will cease to exist in the emerging church. What that statement reveals is a belief that the current expression of youth ministry is the only possible expression. Youths will continue to be ministered to and they will continue to be agents of God’s kingdom – whether or not the traditional structures of youth ministry survive (on these structures: there are some I hope survive and some I hope die).
Youth ministry as a profession may cease. But this is a long way off – there will be many churches that hold on to modernistic structures for a very long time, so if your in college getting a degree in youth ministry – don’t worry…but focus your training on leadership (hope), Scripture (faith) and loving people (love)…these three are foundational for any ministry.