Br. Mark Brown: The three chapters on obedience (12 – 14) are extraordinarily subtle and forward-looking, and break new ground. The kind of obedience that the Rule imagines is very different from the way that practice is ordinarily thought of. Like the chapters on prayer, the community was, for some reason, able to plumb extraordinary depths here.
Br. Curtis Almquist: It’s interesting because I would say that these chapters embody the entire process of rewriting the Rule. I say that because when we began this process, it was the first time that we’d really listened to one another talking about things that mattered. It was a challenge for most of us. Most of us were surprised to learn that Brothers we thought we knew well held opinions and hopes and dreams that were widely and sometimes wildly different than our own.
We had solicited counsel from several orders who were engaged in a similar process. We were advised to start with a completely blank slate. Then several things happened: first, we trusted ourselves to talk with each other about things that mattered. So we started listening to one another, deeply. I think this is why the three chapters on obedience are so extraordinary and so very different from the top-down vision of Father Benson.