Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Benedict Option

I've started to read Rod Dreher's book The Benedict Option after hearing much about it and following his blog. So here is the first nstalment of my reactions.
Dreher's thesis is that the church in the West is facing a cultural rejection of the world-view and anthropology derived from Christianity. This is getting antagonistic and intolerant. The church in USA is weak in its ability to resist the worldliness and has lost the culture war. Allowing for his American context, the situation in Australia is comparable. The push for same sex marriage is a dramatic marker  because it was unthinkable and absurd until very recently but opponents now are labelled bigots etc. A new gender anthropology is being aggressively pushed in Australian schools. So society hasn't been "christian' for a long time, but laws and values have tracked the biblical norms. Now marriage is being radically redefined and laws will enforce it. 
Dreher picks up the example of Benedict who founded a new kind of Christian community to preserve the faith and civilisation in the unravelling days of the Roman Empire. Dreher thinks that Western Christians would be wise to gear themselves for a strategic withdrawal.
Is he exaggerating? I don't think so. We've known for a long time that we are in a post-Christian society. The pressures are more felt now as the pillars of the West are being knocked over. He is concerned about how the church can preserve itself with an onslaught of different values.


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