2014 Book Corner

Punk Monk by Andy Freeman and Pete Greig

Chosen By: Rev. James Estes, Associate Pastor

Prayer is personal, participatory, powerful and practical.

Prayer is also at the heart of "Punk Monk," a thought-provoking book that takes readers on the fascinating journey of the creation of 24-7 prayer communities known as Boiler Rooms and what happens when people make prayer an integral part of life.

As the book's introduction notes, prayer is more important than we realize. Prayer is not just about making 'stuff' happen. It's also about waiting at the feet of Jesus and practicing the presence of God.

Just as the early church made constant prayer a centerpiece of its communities, Punk Monk encourages a modern-day monastic movement that centers around prayer and encourages us to follow Jesus in a sacrificial way.

The book explores the creation of something called a "Boiler Room," which is a Christ-centered community that practices a daily rhythm of prayer, study and celebration while caring actively for the poor and lost. It exists to love God in prayer and to love neighbors in practice.

The first Boiler Room began in 2001 in an old, boarded-up, condemned pub in the abbey town of Reading, England, located roughly 25 miles west of London. It initially started as a place to practice prayer 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, before evolving over time. Today, these missional, prayerful communities can be found scattered throughout Europe and North America.

The book outlines some guiding principles and practices of Boiler Room communities. In addition to being prayerful, Boiler Rooms are creative communities where prayer and worship can be expressed through art, sculpture, music, poetry, photography and dance.

They also are missional and committed to taking the gospel to the world.

As one of the chapters states: "We are called to be fruitful (see John 15), but only by being rooted in Jesus. We are commanded to go and preach the gospel (see Matt. 28), but first we must come to Jesus' side."
 
Reading the book, you can't help but wonder what would happen if First Church decided to start and support a Boiler Room. How would God, working through one of these prayerful communities, impact this church, the members within and the community and world-at-large? 

It's something worth pondering.

Reviewed by Laurie Winslow