Question: Br. David, you’re now the senior Brother of the community, “the bearer of our corporate memory,” as the Rule says (47). You’ve lived under several different iterations of the Rule. When you consider the present version, how does it compare with what you experienced in earlier forms?
Br. David Allen: Well, in many ways, of course, it doesn’t compare because it is so completely different from the earlier forms of the Rule, all of which were spiritual guides and documents, while this version of the Rule is more pragmatic. This version engages issues in contemporary culture in ways that, at the time we were writing, made some of us feel quite uncomfortable to be discussing such things in print. I’m thinking, for instance, of our reference to same-sex couples (11), and even the mention of sexual orientation (9). In the old days, not only would we not really mention such things, it was as though they didn’t even exist. But I think our including such things was actually quite prophetic, though, at the time, it just felt uncomfortable. Now it feels completely natural.