The life and wisdom of the desert fathers and mothers is not only retained in historical volumes, but has been a constant presence throughout the development of the church. A formative influence since the time of the early Christians, this wisdom has the power to transform and nurture even today.
Using six fundamental aspects of desert monastic life as windows—The Cell, Patience, Praxis, Labor and Time, Solitude and Silence, and Humility—Oasis of Wisdom reveals the world that created the wisdom of early Christian monastic men and women. With this experiential approach to learning, Keller goes beyond simple reflection by providing substantial historical background, including the environment of solitude, ascetic disciplines, labor, and daily life experiences. Touching on the social, religious, political, and linguistic influences of the culture, it is an ideal introduction for modern readers with limited backgrounds in theology or church history.
Oasis of Wisdom is ideal for those seeking spiritual mentoring or a discipline of prayer, and will appeal to those from all denominations and backgrounds, from those new to church history to oblates. The richness of this ancient wisdom will challenge modern Christians to catch the spirit of the desert elders and join in their struggle to live an authentic human life.
Chapters are: "Politeia: The Monastic World of the Desert Fathers and Mothers," “Oikoumene: The Inhabited World Surrounding the Desert Fathers and Mothers,” “Sunrise to Sunrise: The Daily Lives of Early Egyptian Desert Elders and Monastic Communities,” “The Cell: Meeting God and Ourselves,” “Patience: Learning Not to Run from God or Authentic Human Life,” “Stillness and Silence: Being Present to God, Ourselves, and the World,” “Praxis: An Ascetic Vocation that Forms, Nourishes and Guards the Soul,” “Praxis and Labor: The Sanctification of Daily Life,” “Humility: Making Christ Tangible,” and “Two Deserts.” Also includes an introduction and a bibliography.
The Rev. David G.R. Keller, Ed D, is the former Steward of the Episcopal House of Prayer at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. He currently leads contemplative retreats at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California, and at The Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, California. Along with Fr. Thomas Keating, OCSO, he has formed and facilitates The Contemplative Ministry Project.