Today I’m unlocking a paywalled piece from about two years ago, about monks, perpetual prayer, and my father’s favorite movie, The Night of the Hunter. I’m often compelled by monks and monkishness in a way I’m not at all compelled by any other religious community. Likely this is because I have met very few monks in the course of my life. Monks discipline themselves, rather than others – I don’t readily associate them with pastoral abuse because I think of them as having been charged with the keeping of only one another in practice, and with humanity in theory. This may not be true, historically, but the association lingers regardless. I do not go inside a church building, I do not purchase anything from the Spiritual Disciplines table in a bookstore, but I quite like a monk. They render the constant-surveillance of God less terrifying, because they dedicate their lives to staring back.
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