The Benedict Option

The Benedict Option

A Strategy for Christians in A Post-Christian Nation

eBook - 2017
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In a radical vision for the future of Christianity, New York Times bestselling author and American Conservative columnist Rod Dreher calls on American Christians to prepare for the coming Dark Age by embracing an ancient Christian way of life. 
 
From the inside, American churches are hollowed out by the departure of young people and by an insipid pseudo-Christianity. From the outside, they are beset by challenges to religious liberty in a rapidly secularizing culture. Keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House might have bought a brief reprieve from the state's assault, but it will not stop the West's slide into decadence and dissolution.
 
Rod Dreher argues that the way forward is actu#65533;ally the way back--all the way to St. Benedict of Nur#65533;sia. This sixth-century monk, horrified by the moral chaos following Rome's fall, retreated to the forest and created a new way of life for Christians. He built enduring Christian communities based on principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer. His spiritual centers of hope were strongholds of light throughout the Dark Ages, and saved not just Christianity but Western civilization.
 
Today, a new, post-Christian barbarism reigns. Many believers are blind to it, and their churches are too weak to resist. Politics offers little help in this spiritual crisis. What is needed is the Benedict Option, a strategy that draws on the authority of Scripture and the wisdom of the ancient church. The goal: to embrace exile from mainstream culture and construct a resilient counterculture.
 
This book is both manifesto and rallying cry for Christians who, if they are not to be conquered, must learn how to fight on culture war battlefields like none the West has seen for fifteen hundred years. The Benedict Option is for all mere Chris#65533;tians--Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox--who can read the signs of the times. Neither false optimism nor fatalistic despair will do. Only faith, hope, and love, embodied in a renewed church and resilient culture, can sustain believers in the dark age that has overtaken us. These are the days for building strong arks for the long journey across a sea of night.
Publisher: [S.l.] : Penguin Publishing Group, 2017
ISBN: 9780735213319
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: 3M Cloud Library

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DPAndersen
Sep 02, 2017

Oddly, Mr. Dreher doesn't define the Benedict Option. Instead he offers vague complaints and impractical solutions such as this: "Because public education in America is neither ordered, nor religiously informed, nor able to form an imagination devoted to Western civilization, it is time for all Christians to pull their children out of the public schools." He offers only "Classical Christian" education as an alternative and admits that such education is not currently available.

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dennismmiller
Jul 08, 2017

For too long, Rod Dreher suggests, American Christians believed that all that was necessary to live their faith was to go to church on Sunday, believe in the right things, and live ordinary lives. The past few decades, however, have seen the rise of an activist progressivism which is intrinsically hostile to authentic Christianity, while conservative Christians have atrophied into the chaplains of consumerism. It is now time, Dreher insists, to face hard truths - the culture war has been lost, and orthodox Christians are an increasingly despised minority, under legal and social pressure to compromise their beliefs. To survive, traditional Christians must cultivate detachment and build a parallel culture, a key feature of which will likely be the formation and cultivation of intentional communities of like-minded believers.

It is easy to misunderstand Dreher as advocating a retreat from the world, but the path sketched in The Benedict Option aims at more effective engagement, beginning with an awareness that orthodoxy is not merely a matter of correct doctrine, but of consciously living in harmony with a transcendent order. Even if the "Benedict option" is not the best strategy for the future of Christianity in the West, Dreher should be thanked for reemphasizing the truth that the challenge facing Christians in the 21st century is not primarily legal, political, social, or even moral, but anthropological and cosmological.

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