Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monk Habits for Everday People

Monk Habits for Everyday People
by Dennis Okholm

Brazos Press, Copyright 2007
144 pages, ISBN 978-1-58743-185-2

Rating: 4/5

Quote from Book: "Benedictine spirituality is not glamorous. It is extraordinary ordinary. Indeed it aims at developing a healthy whole person."

When I saw Monk Habits for Everyday People on AbeBooks' list of 151 crazy and strange titles, I couldn't pass on the chance to read it myself. Monk attire has the potential of being a new fashion trend. It certainly reduces the stress of what to wear. I wonder if there is a shorter version for the beach?

As it turns out the book has nothing to do with clothes or how to make habits to wear. It does have everything to do with developing a philosophy of life using the Rule (or guide) written by St. Benedict over 1500 years ago.

What you may not know about me is that I'm a victim product of Catholic education. The Benedictine Monks were my high school teachers and college professors. I ended up working for them almost ten years.

The Catholic Church and I no longer see eye-to-eye on many issues like gay rights for example. At the same time I have always appreciated the philosophy of St. Benedict. His teachings have influenced who I am today.

Subtitled "Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants," author Dennis Okholm seeks to expand Benedict's teaching to a wider audience, "...offering bits of wisdom and strategies for growth gleaned from the Benedictine tradition."

This is a book that you can easily skim. Each chapter is devoted to a specific philosophy. There are two that I adopted years ago. They are hospitality (which I have renamed the Aloha spirit) and balance.

On the topic of balance, Benedict took a holistic approach to talk about finding a daily balance between mind, body and soul. In my life I see that as carving out time each day for meditation, work and play (exercise is in there too).

On my spiritual plate I feast on many traditions. There's good in all. While this book takes a Christian approach to Benedict, I have another one looking at his philosophy from a non-Christian perspective.

If you've had any experience with the Benedictine Order, I'd enjoy hearing about it. For those of you who looked at the link at the beginning of this review, which titles from AbeBooks' list seem the most strange or crazy?


  1. I think that the ubiquitous hoodie would be the beach version of monkwear, Rob.

    I am enjoying your reviews, here. Would you consider participating in my Book Review Blog Carnival? The link is to the latest edition at Busy Mom's Who Love toe Read.

  2. Sounds like a great book, thank you for sharing.


  3. Sounds like an interesting book. I also grew up as a catholic but kind of broke away from the religion as an adult. Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday and by the looks of your blog I will be stopping by here more often!

  4. Thanks for the review AND for the link. I went to the weird titles page and spent some time laughing. You've made my Friday start well.


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Ho'ola'i na manu i ke aheahe

"The birds poise quietly in the gentle breeze."
Said of those who are at peace with the world, undisturbed and contented.