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The Rule of St. Benedict

Quick Factsbenedict
Written by the titular “St. Benedict,” The Rule was created as a guidebook written for Benedictine monks on how to live a life of simplistic holiness in keeping with their vows.

Author’s Big Idea
If I’m catching the context of the book properly, Benedict is writing this book in response to the excesses of other orders of monks. Essentially, his goal is to create a guide for monks to follow after his death, in order to preserve the purity of the order he founded.

My Response
I love the idea of writing, pouring onto paper, what you know so that others can learn from you long after you’re gone! Fantastic idea to great a literary legacy.

Summary
I read this book over a long period, so it’s hard to pull out specific things. However, there was so much in this book that I thought would be really helpful for pastors, especially multi-pastor staffs. Benedict wrote a lot about how the Abbot, head of an abbey, should relate to and lead the monks, and vice versa. I found it incredibly helpful and have recommended it to my lead pastor.

Issues?
Benedict was Catholic, and I’m not. I don’t have a problem with that. I can learn from anyone, even if I don’t agree with them completely. Also, parts of the book discussed the ways that the monks should conduct their prayer/chapel times. It was difficult to understand some of it as a evangelical, but that’s what Google is for.

The Verdict
Benedict was a really wise, spiritual guy, and this is reflected in his writing about leadership. His desire was to create a great structure for his order of monks, but his constant theme isn’t one of rigid order and unquestioned authority but of grace and love, modeled by Jesus. Definitely give it a read, especially if you’re looking for different views of leadership, outside of the usual evangelical Christian circle of authors.

[Image via Amazon]

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