Monastic Institute

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : July 1, 2006

I haven’t been home much this summer. After graduating, I did a week-long intensive at St. Thomas in Faith Based Organizational stuff, I just got back from 10 days of InterVarsity new staff training (we’re planting a new chapter at the U of M West Bank), and now, every day this week, Amy and I will be making the hour-long trek to St. John’s for the Monastic Institute Conference. This year’s theme is “One Heart, One Soul: Many Communities” and will focus on new monastic developments and communities around the world.

In some ways, being away so much this summer has been refreshing and helpful; I’ve been gaining some insights, skills, and new networks that will help with our mission on the West Bank. But it sucks to be so relatively disconnected from Missio Dei and to be apart from the West Bank so much.

In my time away, I’ve realized a few things:

  • My biggest strengths are planning, strategizing, communicating, teaching, and networking.
  • I am not very good at fostering intimacy, personal spirituality, or pastoral care.
  • I may not be naturally gifted as a nurturer, but I realize I am also being held back by fear…I’m afraid to give love for fear that I will be rejected.
  • God is calling me to love recklesslessly–both inside Missio Dei and on the West Bank…but I’m not sure what this means.
  • Right now what I need, and Missio Dei needs, and the West Bank needs is loving people who can offer loving and healing presence. I yearn for Missio Dei to be a people that can demonstrate the love of Christ on the West Bank. But if we are to become that, we need tutors in the ways of compassion. I can do fundraising, I can network, I can cast vision, but if we don’t have love–demonstrated love–than all of that is merely a clanging gong.

I may blog a bit during the week, but it is more likely that I’ll wait until the conference is over.

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One Response to “Monastic Institute”

  1. fargo john on July 7th, 2006 9:19 pm

    yo, mark van s.
    i’ve been back in fargo for a few days now and life has taken some major turns for me. not all good, not all bad, but major nonetheless. shoot me an email sometime and let me know when you’ll be in detroit lakes.


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