People Need A Challenge

I stumbled upon this fascinating Christianity Today feature, "The New Monasticism," about young Protestants in the "Simple Way" movement building urban communities where they share life in common, pray --and advocate for the poor. Their political leanings are curious to me, but I respect their instincts, even though at points in the article I wanted to say, "Dudes: learn a little Church history, you're reinventing the wheel." Several of these new communities recently met together to write a rule, and they have a period of "novitiate" before people can join. Here's what I take to be the money quote
Though the movement is relatively small and intimidating for many, for others it has become an attractive option for living the Christian life. Bessenecker says many young Christians today are looking to commit themselves to something far more radical than the suburban evangelicalism of their parents. We've lost the art of vow-making, he says. "In a community that has become so connected to their iPods and gaming, calling people to something different is the sort of challenge they're ready to rise to.
If you ask a person to give his or her all, it has to be for a goal that's worth giving all and really necessitates commitment. Make it too easy, and it'll be easy to leave, too. That's why I believe so many religious orders erred fatally by relaxing their rules. People --especially young people-- crave opportunities to prove themselves, and want to devote themselves to something BIG and worthwhile --for Christians, ultimately someONE who is worth dedicating a life to. So if it's just going to be hanging out in your jeans, serving soup at the local homeless kitchen and then going back to tv and beer --what do you need a convent or a rectory for? You can do those things at home while raising a family and earning a decent salary. For the religious life to exert any hold on people, it has to be radical.
Here's support for this notion from strange quarter. A woman writing about her divorce was cited in the WaTi this morning saying

There's no hardship significant enough to keep us dependent on each other. ... If the hardest thing in your life is that your husband won't pick up the dry cleaning, are you likely to hang in until death do you part?"