Thomas Gwyn Dunbar
The particular spirituality of the Appalachian Riders for our Lady is based on our three foundational principles of commitment, continuity and conversation:
The Riders are committed to faithful and sympathetic submission to papal authority while striving to work out traditional vows of obedience, poverty, chastity, and stability in a largely lay context. For example, while stability for Benedictine monastics means lifelong attachment to a particular monastery, for Riders stability means attachment to a particular parish and its daily Mass (in my case, St Ambrose in Salt Lake City).
The Riders work in continuity with the entire Catholic Church, extended in both space and time, with each Rider limiting their reading and study to two dozen books. These books are settled upon by a Rider, in coordination with the abbot and their particular focus, at the time of ordination and all Riders share a core of books: the Bible, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the Compendium to the Catholic Catechism. I’m inclined to prefer books which show a writer’s development over time.
The Riders strive to promote a conversational culture, authentically Christian and Catholic, in the midst of a world largely lacking culture of any sort. While somewhat bookish, given the use of books to establish continuity, we prefer conversation over writing and recognize that mere talking is rarely conversation.
Our vows of commitment, continuity, and conversation do not necessarily mean that we have any natural inclination or talent in these areas. My own investigations center around the apparent paradox of Christologies seeming to be close together when their related Ecclesiologies are far apart.
My booklist is:
- Bible, unabridged Revised Standard Version
- The Liturgy of the Hours, unabridged
- Exodus commentary; Brevard Childs
- Vergil’s Aeneid; tr. Sarah Ruden
- The Confessions; Saint Augustine
- Dante’s Purgatory & Paradise; A. Esolen
- Sonnets & 12 Plays; William Shakespeare
- Anglican Book of Common Prayer 1662
- Poems; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Everyman Chesterton; ed. Ian Ker
- North of Boston Poems; Robert Frost
- Collected Works; Flannery O’Connor
- Stay Against Confusion; Ron Hansen
- Church & Politics; Joseph Ratzinger
- Epistle to the Ephesians; M. Zerwick
- Pauline Perspectives; N. T. Wright
- My Bright Abyss; Christian Wiman
- Enchiridion Symbolorum; Denzinger
- Compendium of the Catholic Catechism