An anthology of essays, poems, photographs and block prints, Monkscript
seeks to examine the ''jeweled inner life'' of monasticism -- from within, in a handful of cases, but mostly from without. What are the monks to us? asks Fr. Thomas Hopko (an Orthodox priest and former dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary) in his essay on the monastic's relationship to God and the world. How should the non-celibate regard the celibate, and the celibate regard the non-celibate in return? Are monks escapists, neither feeding the hungry nor clothing the naked, or, as Hopko hopes, are they testament to another reality, one that warrants denying oneself the normal amenities of life as a means of clearing the soil so the Word can grow? Thirty-five contributors span these pages in a breadth of religious experience -- from an academic couple seeking quasi-monastic isolation in a cabin (and ultimately abandoning the effort) to a Zen Catholic scholar and a high school poet keenly observing a monk observing the forest. A clamoring and bittersweet tone runs through many of the lay writings -- a tone set by Seamus Heaney's extraordinary stanzas about a man shipwrecked in a monastery, saved by an abbot who fears he will drown. How are we to be in the world and not of it, the laymen in Monkscript
ask. The monastics, for their part, answer quietly, making good note of the world and proclaiming ''Everything is good. Everything is paradise.'' Even in the midst of our deep falleness, ''Life lives.''
An Eighth Day View:
This anthology offers poems, fiction, essays, art, meditations, and interviews, written from the ambiance of eastern and western monasticism, by those who live inside and outside of monasteries.