Monday, June 28, 2010


Drawing on timeless principles of monastic communal living, this spiritual guide for families offers effective tools to meet many challenges and counteract the divisive forces that can splinter a healthy home. Cultivating a sense of togetherness and nurturing the spiritual development of both the family and its individual members is a challenge that many find difficult to meet. Though hectic schedules and competing interests chip away at the sense of community and the support systems that family members need to thrive, each chapter of this book includes a practical lesson from the rule of St. Benedict and the Benedictine traditions which have been cornerstones of Western Christian monastic life for millennia. Spiritual practice, making time, discipline, sharing, hospitality, and changing family dynamics are some of the topics addressed in this wise and wide-ranging handbook, while exercises, checklists, and ideas for family activities are included at the end of every chapter. The gentle, reassuring tone offers encouragement to both traditional and nontraditional families, and reinforces the importance of parenting as a spiritual calling.
"A truly fresh and new resource for all who want their homes and families to be places of nurturing, safety, and hope. This is practical and real and hope-filled, a must for every family—of every configuration."  —Laura Swan, author, Engaging Benedict and The Forgotten Desert Mothers
"Because the Christian family is a little faith community, Robinson discovers insights for family living from the sixth-century writings of St. Benedict, founder of monastic communities."  —Catholic Spirit
"[The] concept of parenting is deliberate, persistent, and guided by a deep belief that God wants the family to experience God’s love on a daily basis."  —Presbyterians Today
"Packed with creative, practical ideas that Robinson has devised for deepening family spirituality and harmony."  —Spiritual Life: A Journal of Contemporary Spirituality
"A long-awaited gift for today’s Christian family. For those families who are seeking more out of life, trying to incorporate deeply-held Christian beliefs into the sometimes chaotic experience of family, or seeking ways to pray better and get along better, this book is ideal."  —Spiritual Book News
"David Robinson, a Presbyterian pastor, has written a book that draws upon the Rule of St. Benedict to give counsel about modern family life."  —Catholic Faith Magazine
"Combining the tradition of the Benedictine order and his own experience, Robinson challenges the hectic lifestyle which so many families are caught up in today."  —Catholic News Service
"A Presbyterian pastor has investigated how the family can function as a kind of monastery."  —Dennis Okholm, professor of theology, Azusa Pacific University, and author, Monk Habits for Everyday People


Many Christians today are rediscovering the wisdom of St. Benedict's ancient rule, David Robinson, a Presbyterian minister and father of three teenage boys, has adapted Benedict's enduring monastic way of life to his contemporary family. The Family Cloister relates the seven key teachings from the Rule that are helping his family maintain peace and stability. These are: Family Design, Family Spirituality, Family Discipline, Family Health, Family Life Together, Family Service and Hospitality, and Family Growth.
Families face many difficult decisions today. The Family Cloister addresses the major issues including, as Robinson states them, family community and individuality, participation and separation, discipline and freedom, and stability and mobility. Christian families of all sizes will find Robinson's advice Scripturally accurate, timely, and most of all, practical and down-to-earth. This book won the national book award from the Catholic Press Association in 2001 for "Best Family Life" book.


Check out Ancient Paths: Discover Christian Formation the Benedictine Way (Paraclete Press, 2010), by David Robinson. Ancient Paths offers personal and practical insights into “The Rule of St. Benedict”, an ancient guidebook for Christian formation in community. Drawing upon centuries of Benedictine spirituality and monastic spiritual practices, Ancient Paths presents a five-fold approach to spiritual formation in community. While Benedict wrote his spiritual formation guidebook for monks living in the early sixth century, Ancient Paths presents Benedict’s perspectives and principles as a rich source of wisdom and practical guidance for spiritual formation today. Ancient Paths is a field-tested guidebook, showing how this way of life has been lived by monastics day by day over the past fifteen centuries. Through biblical principles laid out in this book, readers will discover ancient, but new ways of living their faith together with others. This book also provides practical guidance for pastors, priests, and lay-leaders in the local congregation for helping to grow a community of faith in the ancient way of Christ. A twelve-week study guide is also provided for individuals, home groups, house churches and small group leaders.