One of the grand questions we face is how does a person or a community innovate different ways of consuming. Ways that are more life giving, more just and more generous. One of the emerging answers among Christians is the "Re-monking of the Church", as it's described in this article. He observes:
Many of us yearn to be deeply rooted in Christ in a way that reflects his holiness, and to share this rooted, holy life with a community, but we find this hard to do in the modern West. Our culture pushes us to strive for individual fulfillment, to consume more and more, and to spend much of our lives working to pay for that consumption. The result has been a world of constant mobility, alienation, and loneliness. Quasi-monastic movements like the Catholic ecclesial communities reveal a deep desire for connectedness—a sense that we need to live a regular, disciplined life of devotion to God, and that we can’t do it alone.
In some ways our year has been like submitting to an order or rule. There have been fits and starts of sharing this with a communty of fellow travelers, but not as much as I would like. I guess the place to start for us has been our little community of four. One observation I have in living under this rule is that I have more a sense of freedom in these confined spaces than I did on the wild frontier of everything being an option, limited only by the money in my baank account. I'm not sure about the brown robes and funny haircuts, but I like have a rule to live by.