Cloister Talks: Learning from My Friends the Monks
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Cloister Talks: Learning from My Friends the Monks

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  31 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Come along as author Jon M. Sweeney sits in the warm October sun talking with Father Luke or enjoys a December afternoon in the monastery with Father Ambrose.In Cloister Talks, Sweeney offers a rare glimpse into his decades-long friendships with monks and shares the wisdom and insight for everyday living he has gained along the way. The contemplative monasticism Sweeney pr...more
Paperback, 157 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Brazos Press
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I'm not sure what I'm supposed to learn from this book because it doesn't seem that Sweeney learned much of anything from his monk friends. Well, that's not quite true, there are a few snippets of insight—loved his warning about religion often producing artificial feelings—hence the two stars and not just one. But overall this book is rambling and unstructured and doesn't seem to ever have a purpose other than to expose the author's neurotic obsession with a lifestyle he wishes he could have. An...more
Michael Allen
In this book Jon Sweeney takes us through conversations he has had with monks over many years. Jon comes from an evangelical Christian background, but has been drawn to monastic spirituality. Here he shares his enthusiasm and love for the monastic way of life, as seen from the complications of everyday life outside of the cloister (including his own struggles through a marriage break-down).

The book takes on the air of a gentle relaxed conversation with his friends, the monks. It is never preachy...more
Adriane Devries
Jon M. Sweeney, self-described wanderer and spiritual explorer, was dissatisfied in any one particular denomination. In looking to our culture for answers, he saw a society of people frantic to discover and reinvent themselves, who were also prone to do the same with religion when it didn’t suit—made to self-prescribed order, so to speak. He saw a culture famished for spiritual nourishment and seeking it in newer-and-improved methods. In response, he was drawn to the ancient as a sort of antidot...more
Nathan Metz
Apr 04, 2012 Nathan Metz rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
This was a book with no direction, no purpose and no real consistency other than it's lack of direction and purpose. The author has apparently spent many hours away with monks and recorded their conversations. It's not until the end that we learn about his failing marriage which ended in divorce just a year before the publishing of the book. The scrambled chapters and aimless notes on Christian living found their only redeeming value in the occasional quotes of some likable monks.
Several times t...more
Sep 18, 2009 Gloria rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Deep Thinkers
Shelves: for-the-spirit
A book to return to. Sweeney makes the cloistered life accessible, and reminds us of how difficult it can be to "center down" as the Quakers might say, and distance oneself from the fast-paced world we live in. This is comfort food of the literary sort.
This is a shortened, more male-focused, and methodical version of Kathleen Norris' The Cloister Walk. It's also a very good introduction for Protestants who have no clue about monasticism or its import in our time.
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Christian non-fic...: FREE Today! 1 4 Sep 22, 2013 09:10AM  
Jon M. Sweeney is an independent scholar, culture critic, and popular speaker with 25 years of experience in spirituality trade publishing. He's the author of many books including The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, recently optioned by HBO, Inc. Raised an evangelical Protestant, today Jon is a Catholic who prefers a monastic-style practice.
More about Jon M. Sweeney...
The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation Strange Heaven: The Virgin Mary as Woman, Mother, Disciple and Advocate Born Again and Again: Surprising Gifts of a Fundamentalist Childhood The St. Francis Prayer Book: A Guide to Deepen Your Spiritual Life Mixed-Up Love: Relationships, Family, and Religious Identity in the 21st Century

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