Stability with Nathan Oates

monastery door

We’re always on the move, and it’s costing us.

We talk a lot about going and doing, about the need for meaningful action, service, and pilgrimage.

We need to learn about the benefits of resisting the temptation to remain unrooted.

In his book Stability: How an Ancient Monastic Practice Can Restore Our Relationships, Churches, and Communities, Nathan Oates draws from some of the best writings on Benedictine spirituality and from his personal experiences raising a family, pastoring a church, and spending time living with monks, Nathan Oates offers a compelling invitation to find inner peace and stillness right where we are.

Key Ideas

  • Our struggle with consumerism and restlessness isn’t new. We read about similar struggles in Benedict’s day 1500 years ago.
  • A gyrovague is a wandering monk, and an example of what it means to live without stability.
  • We can learn from the Benedictine Vow of Stability, but we can’t directly import it into our context.
  • We can make the commitment, “I’m going to be committed to this place to these people and to this shared purpose.” We can refuse to treat community as a commodity. This commitment will transform how we live.
  • We short-circuit our growth when we’re continually moving.
  • Stability looks like a lack of activity, but it requires intentionality and focus.
  • There’s no shortcut to the kind of life that stability can produce.
  • We can play a significant role in the lives of others when we stay involved over a long period of time.


“We don’t develop when we’re constantly moving. A tree can’t produce fruit if you transplant it three or four times. It somehow loses the ability to produce fruit.”

“The place teaches me what is real … My home is what’s going to reveal the truth most clearly about who I am and what I value. The place is such a powerful instructor.”

“We admire the 40-year marriage, we admire the long-tenured and successful business career … but we seem to repudiate the practice itself of stability.”

“There’s no shortcut to 25 years of marriage.”

“Celebrate the root that leads to the fruit.”

Books mentioned:


Download a PDF transcript of this episode.

Stability with Nathan Oates
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada