i met the dean of a prominent seminary recently who, noticing my black clothes and weird hair, said politely, 'what do you do?' i said, 'i attempt to be an orthodox monk.' he said, understandably, 'how is that? either you're a monk or you're not, right?' i said 'ah, if only it were so easy: i have taken vows and accepted the blessing of my archbishop for such an undertaking, but sometimes--often--i break my vows and fail to live up to that blessing. so, my life is an attempt at monkhood.'
but mostly it has been a fortunate attempt, in that i no longer am trying to serve two masters, being in this Aión by day and in the AiónAiónios by morning and evening. (and i use the greek word that we so often translate as 'world' and 'even and ever' because i think those are misleading translations, leading among other mistakes, to the contempt of the κόσμος.
what the psalms say, ah, is many things. but for the children playing i the school yard of this generation, they seem to be saying that it is death to be relevant to a 'culture' which spends most of its time and money producing death; that it is insane to worship youth, that most fleeting of conditions; that the goal we should have is not to be relevant to the 'culture' of this age but to be relevant to the kingdom of god.
and so, despite the popularity of the monasticism-one-follows-with-twitter, or spiritual practices on cd's to listen to while commuting, or the guidance of those who talk on television about the wonders of 'interspirituality,' which seems to be the spiritual equivalence of having no city in which to dwell, but living in a 757's 'interurbanity,' go to your room and pray. go to your room and pray.
'seek him that made pleiades and orion, that turneth deep darkness into the morning, and darkeneth the day into night; that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: the lord is his name.' (amos 5:8) and pray, brothers and sisters, for me, a sinful man seeking to be a monk.