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The Christian Writing Revolution: A history lesson

On a whim, I typed in “Christian writing revolution” on Mamma.com and found
“The History Guide”: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History, Lecture 15
“Christianity as a Cultural Revolution”
It is a story of how Christianity grew in the early centuries, largely through monks who supported each other in meditative, creative communities. Sound familiar?

Here’s a quick overview:
* 4th and 5th centuries—Christian thinkers struggle to systematize theology using existing literature.
* 6th century—Monastic movement creates the literature that defines literacy and learning in Rome.
* 7th and 8th centuries—Christian literature leads to the Christianization of Rome.
* 9th and 10th centuries—Monasteries become corrupt by catering to aristocratic interests.

The vision of this modern “Christian writing revolution” is very similar. I think of a modern day writing community like the one Greg Wolfe of Image Journal has proposed called “Still Point” to foster arts and creative writing in an artistic community. Christian university writing programs should ideally be like this (I say “ideally,” because mine was not so much).

But before Christian writing even existed, monasteries led the way by escaping the disorder of their times and writing the literature that would spread the Christian ideals throughout the world. The more we allow the world to influence us, the more our values will shift and we’ll grow unstable. The only way we can do this is through a community that supports each other to live reflective, principled lives according to our calling. That’s the commitment I’m calling for.

The early monasteries are a great study and I need to research it further, but this is the idea that’s taking shape. Let me hear from you about this. What do you envision? The “emergent church,” and “house church” movements across the world, great work like all of you are doing, it’s all a part of the groundswell.

One Response to “The Christian Writing Revolution: A history lesson”

  1. Mike Morrell says:

    Great series Mick; sorry it’s taken me so long to respond (was gone this weekend w/ my best friend to Oktoberfest in the North Georgia mountains)…it’ll take me awhile to digest everything you’re saying and discovering about about Christian literature in history and now…
    I sure hope emerging and house church people are hotbeds for renewal in Christian literature; I’m pretty tied to both. I think there is truly a lot of creativity and freedom to explore the Lord in His fullness though; maybe more so than more institutionalized forms of faith…who knows?

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