Pirate Monks on the Abilene Reporter News  

Posted by Jordan Bunch

As with any news article it's certainly not totally accurate. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. You can bank on about 80% of it being accurate to the interview. Anyway, its still a nice article on the Pirate Monks.

Click here to see the article on the ARN website.


By Charles G. Anderson Sr. Special to the Reporter-News
Published Thursday, May 12, 2011

A small group of students at Abilene Christian University have banded together in a group known as the Pirate Monks, but they don't carry knives and kidnap people for ransom or rob ships like pirates.

Neither do they sit in a monastery and mediate all day as monks might do.

They do try to practice a daily ritual of being kind to others, loving all people, and being true to Christ and his teachings.

"Our aim is to each live in the image of Christ and to serve others," said Jordan Bunch, a graduate student and residence director of Edwards Hall.

One of the Pirate Monk rules, Bunch said, is to take the Gospel to the world — and especially to the men of Edwards Hall, a dorm for freshmen and sophomore students. The rules also urge the practice of committing to a "soul friendship" with someone and having a regular time for prayer and confession.

Hart Mendenhall said he joined the group because he wanted to let Jesus guide his life.

"We have daily periods of silent meditation," Mendenhall said. He said meditation could take place in the dorm room or some other setting.

The group met weekly for at least an hour while school was in session. Bunch said the meeting might go a little longer depending on what things members brought up.

"We share where were we are emotionally and spiritually," Mendenhall said. "We sometime talk about things facing us personally," such as school problems or family issues.

"We don't have an agenda, but sometime we may sing a couple of songs," Bunch said. He said the whole concept is based on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters five through seven. At each meeting, they read parts of it and discuss how it applies to their lives.

Asked if the group was a church, Bunch said it was not and that most of the men had their own church families.

"We went on a camping trip one week," member Daniel Marolf said. "We fast at least once each week."

Some members fast together, he said, but sometimes it is just something each one decides to do for himself.

"Fasting brings me closer to God," Marolf said.

"Jesus addressed most of our life's issue," Bunch said. "The main idea of the Pirate Monks is to build our lives on Jesus just as the wise man builds his house upon a rock."

Marolf said the group had made him want to live more under the rules of life as taught by Jesus. He said it is easier to do by teaming up with others who are trying to do the same thing.

"Just being a part of the group and studying helps solidify spiritually and makes it concrete," Mendenhall said.

Members can go to each other for help and support.

"Someone may come to me and tell me what is going on it their lives and ask me to help," Marolf said.

"Sometime it is one on one and someone comes for coaching on how to overcome a problem," Bunch stated.

Asked why they were named the Pirate Monks, Bunch said.

"Pirates were raggedy misfits, but they had rules of life." He said pirates banded together to achieve a goal. He said the "Monks" portion of the name came from a monastery being a group working for something.

Asked for specific problems discussed, Bunch said some were personal.

"The problems that come with taking a test at school or overcoming lust might be involved," Marolf said.

Bunch said freshman next fall would be given the opportunity to join the Pirate Monks.

"It is open to everyone in Edwards dorm," he said.

"This is a great place for men to come if they are angry about something or very excited about something," Bunch said.

...definitely not sure where he got that last quote haha! I know I didn't say that! Guess he should have brought a recorder. Anyways, thanks for the story Mr. Anderson.

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How to renew the Church?  

Posted by Jordan Bunch

“The renewal of the church will come from a new type of monasticism, which has only in common with the old an uncompromising allegiance to the Sermon on the Mount. It is high time men and women banded together to do this." -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Alex's Speech  

Posted by Jordan Bunch

Dr. Richard Beck post the following on his blog Experimental Theology This blog is followed by thousands of people across the world.

It is about our monk brother, Alex. We are so amazed at the way Jesus uses him daily. It just got a little more press this time...

Have you seen The King's Speech?

A few weeks ago, Alex, a student in my PSYC 120 Introduction to Psychology class, asked me if I would let him give a talk in my class. I agreed. And today he gave his talk to an audience of 150 of his peers.

Alex suffers from a fairly severe case of stuttering. And in his talk Alex shared his story along with some of the science about the etiology and therapy options. Afterward he took some questions from the class. Who were, to a person, absolutely wonderful. (I love ACU students.)

I would describe Alex's talk as heroic. Not in the "Once more into the breach!" kind of way. But as an example of the kind of everyday heroism that is needed to expose yourself so vulnerably to friends, peers, and strangers. The heroism of just being yourself, flaws and all, in front of another. I found Alex's presentation both educational and profoundly moving.

In the middle of his talk Alex shared his favorite passage from the bible. He mentioned that some have wondered if Moses suffered from stuttering given what he tells God in Exodus 4:

Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

In light of Moses' complaint and, perhaps, disability, God responds:

The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

That phrase--"I will help you speak"--has stuck with me all day. God certainly helped Alex speak today, despite the pauses, repetitions, and blocks. And it made me think about my own brokenness when it comes to communication with others. A brokenness perhaps more spiritual than physical and neurological.

"I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

I don't "claim" God's promises like a lot of Christians do. I don't think or talk that way about my faith. But something about those words haunted me today.

I found myself wanting the promise Moses had. I wanted to learn how to speak.

Pirate Monks Interview (Abridged Version)  

Posted by Jordan Bunch


Posted by Jordan Bunch


Posted by Jordan Bunch


Posted by Jordan Bunch