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.