Carl Truman mentioned the Benedict Option in a podcast interview I heard recently. It led me to see what he’s written on the subject. I found a helpful shortlist Truman made after hearing a talk that Rod Dreher gave on the topic. I want to highlight the one point I heard mentioned on the podcast but here is the whole list:
- Conventional politics will not save us. Nota bene: This is not the same as saying that political engagement must cease. It is simply a claim about the limited expectations we should have regarding political engagement, particularly at the national level.
- The church is not the world. As Rod merely agrees with Jesus on this point, it should not be too controversial.
- Christians must retrieve their own traditions as the fundamental sources of their identities. Again, with the Apostle Paul on his side here, Rod is hardly breaking dangerous new ground.
- Christians must prioritize the local community as their sphere of action. Once more, nota bene: This is not, repeat not, the same as saying that Christians should head for the hills. It is simply to say that they should be far more concerned for what is happening in their neighborhood than on Capitol Hill.
- What we face is not a struggle within a culture but, strictly speaking, a clash of alternative cultures. This is where the language of the end of the culture war needs to be understood correctly. It is not that we are to surrender to the dominant culture. It is rather that we are to model an alternative culture. And we are to do so first in our local communities.
I couldn’t help but think that Ivan Illich had the same sort of Christian resoponse in mind when he made the case that we should take on the culture war with friendship and hospitality (A theme I mention here).