In a culture of constant change, discover the life-giving power of the monastic value of stability

In a culture of constant change, discover the life-giving power of the monastic value of stability

How stability births meaningful movement

Much of the movement happening in our always-mobile culture is destructive, resulting in frenzied individuals, disintegrated families, fractured communities, and toxic environments. The engine of this destructive movement is the well-nourished desire for gratification through consumption. . . a repeating cycle of leaving and looking.

But some of the movement happening among us is powerfully effective. It grounds us personally, enriches our relationships, restores environments. This restorative movement is deeply rooted and others-focused. It is the result of staying and finding.

The distinction between the two kinds of movement is this: one seeks to get (to acquire, to consume), while the other aims to give (to serve, heal, restore). The secret of the kind of movement that restores is that it is the fruit of having not moved for a long time.

Movement that matters is borne out of authentic stability. Only those who have stayed long enough to know themselves and their mission can restore the broken world as they go. They become missionaries carrying hope. The rest are wanderers who are still searching for it.

So, the basic message is Go! Change the world. Restore the broken. But first, stay. For in staying one practices the skills, lives the commitment, and learns the value of stability. And stability is what makes going count.

Stability is what leads to movement that matters: movement that heals and does not harm, movement that is good, the kind of movement that restores all things.

-Nathan Oates, from the Introduction to Stability: How an ancient monastic practice can restore our relationships, churches, and communities

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Nathan Oates writes, speaks, and serves as lead pastor of Emmaus Church Community, which he started with his wife, kids, and a few friends in 2004. For more than a decade, he has been captivated by the Rule of St. Benedict, focusing on how the Benedictine vow of stability can restore the North American church. Nathan holds a masters degree in spiritual formation from Wheaton College. He lives in Northern California with his wife Carmen, his three kids, and a dog named True.

“So much of what we hope and pray for...depends on people and communities that have established roots of love and can bear fruit in due season. I’m so grateful for a pastor like Nathan Oates who sees the practice of stability as essential.” —Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of The Wisdom of Stability

“Drawing upon the Bible and visions of St. Benedict, Oates shows us ways to reject toxic consumerism and replace it with a life-giving work of restoration.” —Rev. Dr. Lyle Dorsett, Beeson Divinity School

“In a culture of constant change, this book offers the true and refreshing water that stability, rootedness, loyalty to place, and endurance is key to our humanity in Jesus.” —Rev. Jay Thomas, Lead Pastor of the Chapel Hill Bible Church

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