The Monk Manifesto

Sachi Nakamura(JCFN Board member, Translator of Christian books, Spiritual Director)


The other day, I came across an online site about “The Monk Manifesto.” It struck a chord with me and I would like to share it with you.



The Monk Manifesto


1. I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.

2. I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.

3. I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.

4. I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.

5. I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.

6. I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.

7.  I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.


There is also a video version of the Monk Manifesto, where there is an additional principle that states, “I am a dancing monk.”



When hearing the word “monk,” Protestants may think that those people are not relevant to them. However, I think that the word “monk” is used to encompass all Christians who seek to deepen their relationship with God through prayer and desire a life of retreating.


All seven of the principles in the manifesto spoke to me. However, the phrase “dancing monk” in the additional principle was especially intriguing to me. We usually associate the word “dance” with  joy and celebration. Therefore, this phrase reminds us of the joy of salvation and hope for the future that the Lord has given us. Interestingly, perichoresis, a word that describes the trinity, literally means “dancing around together.” Indeed, our God is a dancing God, and we are also invited into His communal dance of internal fellowship of deep love…. Those were some of the imageries that the phrase “dancing monk” sparked in me.


Which of those seven principles did you find captivating to your heart? Did you find one of them especially challenging? Do you feel led to particularly explore one of the principles?


The Liturgical Calendar has already entered the new year. The Christian Era is about to enter the year 2019. What is God’s invitation to you for this new year?



ERF One-Night Retreat 2018 – A Report of Thankfulness

Here in JCFN, we build networks with other organizations while following up with returnees from all over the world. The other day, we received a report about the one-night retreat put on by ERF (European Returnee’s Fellowship). Please use this opportunity to remember and pray for the returnees from Europe.



ERF One-Night Retreat 2018 – A Report of Thankfulness
Grace Gospel Christ Church – Hirotaka Nagai


This year, November 23-24, thanks to the support of Japanese Outreach, ERF held this one-night retreat for the second time in the same venue as last year in Karuizawa.

We dropped off our belongings and together sat down before Jesus and dove straight into the Word, as was our intent for the program. Through the verse Psalm 27:4 (Dwelling in the house of the Lord), which was the theme for this retreat, and through the leadership of the messenger, pastor Naomi Yoshikawa, all the participants did their best to meditate on the Word together. We read scripture out loud, read again and again until we narrowed down the verses that our hearts would naturally stop on, and contemplated those words in our hearts. Many people were very pleasantly surprised, having meditated like this for the first time.

The thing I personally remembered most from this retreat was the importance of “consciously setting aside time with God.” I discovered this new truth through meditating over the Word.

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, (Psalm 27:4)

It was there that I once again vowed to make God number one in my life, no matter how busy I get, and to gaze upon God and walk with Him as a member of His family, as a someone dwelling in His house.


Also, at this year’s retreat, we saw returnee brothers and sisters from Europe, brothers and sisters that came because of flyers we handed out during the retreat (“Europe Kirisuto-sha no Tsudoi”) this summer in Edinburgh in Scotland, as well as people we met at GRC in May of this year. We were very happy to see that we were connected to the whole world, not just Europe.

We had attendees from far-away Tottori, mid-distance Kansai, and visitors from nearby Karuizawa. Our 38 attendees came from many backgrounds, not just Europe, and we had a great time encouraging each other during fellowship. Only thanks to all your numerous prayers did this retreat go off without a hitch!








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