Theology and Reflection

The Simplicity of the Benedictine Rule by Ian Mobsby


Following a rich learning experience put on by St Paul’s Cathedral Forum, I have been really struck by the Prologue to the Rule of St Benedict:

Listen carefully, my child, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov 4:20).  Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father’s advice, that by the labour of obedience you may return to God from whom you have departed by the sloth of disobedience. 

In essence Benedict is opening up the idea that Christianity is about a way of life. This is an important corrective to the reformation which puts the emphasis of belief on thinking.  Benedict’s Rule is an attempt to help people grow a distinctive Christian faith which is less ‘What should I believe’ and more ‘How should I live’ which is a crucial question then and now.  How do we LIVE the Christian life which is about prayerful action.

The opening sentence of Benedict’s Prologue make this very simple, that involves four elements:

1. Listen – to the masters instructions who calls us daughter and sons.
2. Receive – the grace of receiving the love of God that brings health and transends defensiveness and encourages honest loving vulnerability.
3. Labour – put what you have heard and received from God into practice in the way you live. Prayer must lead to action.
4. Return – that even though we stuff up a lot, God always receives us back.

These four are one of simplest but most profound summary of what discipleship is all about.  Benedict was trying to ensure that monasteries focused on Christian discipleship.

The prologue also emphasises urgency, the need to get on with it.  ‘Run while you have the light of life, lest the darkness of death overtake you.’

But with the full assurance of the love of God: ‘What can be sweeter to us, dear ones, that this voice of the Lord inviting us?  Behold in God’s loving kindness the Lord shows us the way of life.’

This is incredibly beautiful.  TO see the whole of the prologue for yourself click here

To see more writing and info by Ian Mobsby click here

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POSTED 04.06.15 BY: Moot Archive | Comments Off on The Simplicity of the Benedictine Rule by Ian Mobsby

Today the Church remembers Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a founding father of New Monasticism



Today, the 9th April, the Church remembers Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran Pastor, Martyr and Father of New Monasticism.  From a Nazi prison cell, in a letter to his brother in 1935 he said this:

‘the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ.  I think it is time to gather people together to do this..’


‘The expansion of Christianity and the increasing secularisation of church caused the awareness of costly grace to be gradually lost … But the Roman church did keep a remnant of that original awareness.  It was decisive that monasticism did not separate from the church and that the church had good sense to tolerate monasticism.  Here, on the boundary of the church, was the place where the awareness that grace is costly and that grace includes discipleship was preserved… Monastic life thus became a living protest against the secularisation of Christianity, against the cheapening of grace’ (Cost of Discipleship P46)

He was born in 1906 into an academic family, Ordained in the Lutheran Church, his theology was influenced by Karl Barth and he became a lecturer: in Spain, the USA and in 1931, back in Berlin.  Opposed to the philosophy of Nazism, he was one of the leaders of the Confessing Church, movement which broke away form the Nazi-dominated Lutherans of 1934.  Banned from teaching, and harassed by Hitler’s regime, he bravely returned to Germany at the outbreak of war in 1939, despite being on a lecture tour in the USA at the time.  His defiant opposition to the Nazis led him to set up a number of new monastic communities defined by generosity to the Jews, Gay people and Roma peoples with a radical rule of life defined by political resistance.  He was arrested for this in 1943.  His experiences led him to propose a more radical theology in his later works, which have been influential among post-war theologians.  He was excited by the Nazi police in Flossenburg concentration camp on this day in 1945.

We remember his life and witness to the faith of Jesus Christ in the most difficult of circumstances.


POSTED 09.04.15 BY: Moot Archive | Comments Off on Today the Church remembers Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a founding father of New Monasticism

Christmas Blog from Ian Mobsby, Moot’s Priest


So once again we find ourselves entering the season of Christmas, and the feast of the Christ Mass, when we remember the miracle and hope for the world, about God coming as a helpless child, as a sign of God’s ultimate love for all human beings, indeed the whole of life.

So on behalf of all our supporters, participants and customers, can I say I hope you have a merry, peaceful and spiritual Christmas.  The Church of St Mary Aldermary will be open for reflection on Monday 22nd Jan and until midday on Tuesday 23rd Jan.

The Host Cafe is now closed reopening 5th January 2015, our first Sunday Service will be on 4th January 2015.

So may I finish with a poem by one of my hero’s – R.S. Thomas

It’s a long way off but inside it
There are quite different things going on:
Festivals at which the poor man
Is king and the consumptive is
Healed; mirrors in which the blind look
At themselves and love looks at them
Back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured
By life. It’s a long way off, but to get
There takes no time and admission
Is free, if you will purge yourself
Of desire, and present yourself with
Your need only and the simple offering
Of your faith, green as a leaf.

POSTED 23.12.14 BY: ianmobsby | Comments Off on Christmas Blog from Ian Mobsby, Moot’s Priest

Ian Mobsby invited to address the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Academic Examination Day, Lambeth Palace



Ian Mobsby, the Priest in Charge & Missioner of the Moot Community was invited to give a short address at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Academic Examination Day on Thursday 9th of October, in the Chapel of Lambeth Palace.   The Archbishop has from the middle ages, the right to award post graduate qualifications including PhDs, a practice that was revised in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

The addresses began with a paper from Fr Thomas of the Anglican Benedictine Community of Mirfield drawing on the PhD he has just finished.  Ian Mobsby was invited to give a response drawing on a new monastic perspective.

To read the address click here: A New Monastic Response, Ian Mobsby

POSTED 12.10.14 BY: Moot Archive | Comments Off on Ian Mobsby invited to address the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Academic Examination Day, Lambeth Palace

How then shall we live with insecure work and the power of money? A theological response


This Sunday at the Moot Eucharist Service we will explore the subject of money, fear and work, and reflect on this theologically.  In a time when there is much fear and a difficult relationship with fear, this Sundays service and homily will explore what is a healthy and sacramental view of money, and how we can live more justly.  We hope that people will leave inspired and encouraged…. See you Sunday at 6pm

POSTED 24.06.14 BY: ianmobsby | Comments Off on How then shall we live with insecure work and the power of money? A theological response

Moot artist in residence: for one week only




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Lozza will spend a week as artist in residence at the Church of St Mary Aldermary. She will use the building as a drawing room and thus create the opportunity to open up the intimate act of drawing to the public. She will interweave her practice with the space, rhythms and visitors to the church, exploring the concepts of spiritual transformation and existentialism. Thus she will be creating abstract drawings, but what will be presented is the act of contemplation and perception.


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I am. I look up at the sky. Clouds float across. Noise. An aeroplane appears and leaves a thin white line which time skews. Silence. A bird s**** on my retina. Darkness bleeds into light, erasing the bright yellow of the gloaming. Beyond the horizon some thing disappears. Emptiness. Am I? My fingers draw blurred lines between reality and imagination.


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“The human being in his mortality in search of his existential purpose engages me and drives me on. I am interested in the relations and correlations of the individual, who orienteers in the worlds collective, and the universal. Where I consider my personal experiences and actions as a hermeneutic research of a single being relative to all entities. My intention is to examine different states of being in order to capture those alchemical processes, which I see analogous to growing up. The ungraspable but nonetheless real prospect of the passage of duration; the notion of time or duration as an essentially fluid entity intrinsically related to human consciousness.

“My practice is grounded on the immediacy and intimacy of drawing. I investigate spaces of presence and absence, avoiding categorization and blurring the boundaries between some thing, dispersion, and no thing. I work with the material in order to address the immaterial, where resonance is equally important as silence. Like a dialogue of two elemental human activities: secrets shut away and vistas opened up. Assuming that marks and traces epitomise elements of marking an occurrence as much as of letting go. Thus, I aim to offer a subtle meditation on the perception of being in this world. Where the self has to learn to find one’s way somewhere between reality and imagination.”


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