Some monks are more obvious than others. Certainly the vocational variety still reinforces the image of the detached contemplative sort that retreated to the wilderness a couple of thousand years ago to sequester themselves and ponder eternity.
There are countless others (read: me) whose lives are otherwise vocationally secular, yet nonetheless seekers of God and students of axiology.
Axiology is the branch of philosophy that answers the question “what is value?” Value is understood to be worth and it centers on both ethics and aesthetics. Biblically we look to God for an understanding of value. In Matthew 10, Christ’s taught us that we are of great value to God and His detailed attention goes to the number of hairs on our head. He likewise said we should not worry over food and clothing because God will provide all of these in accordance with our great value to Him. John 3:16 says He loves us so much He sacrificed His own son for us. This is the worth of a soul to God. In contrast, much of what the world holds in value is discounted by Scripture. The Bible counsels us not to store up treasure where moth and rust will destroy.
If morals are relative and ethics are situational, then value is empty and life is meaningless. The Christian recognizes the profound privilege of engaging God’s beloved and joining the redemptive work of Christ as His ambassador. The world’s values are so misaligned with God’s, they often are not recognized as empty idols, but every misapplied attribute of worth is a form of idolatry.
Only God is worthy of our adoration. As we place Him on the throne of our hearts, our perception begin to align with reality. It is Jesus in the street – not the wilderness.
If that won’t get you out of the monastery, nothing will.