Like many Catholics who spend too much time reading, arguing and thinking online, I’ve recently gotten caught up in discussions of Rod Dreher’s best-selling book, The Benedict Option.
I have wanted to like Dreher’s arguments — I really have. I’ve lurked on his blog and read his interviews, hoping to see him flesh out his thoughts in directions that make sense to me. But, somehow, he always seems to miss the mark.
When I picked up Archbishop Chaput’s book, Strangers in a Strange Land, a few weeks ago, I started to understand where Dreher loses me. Chaput quotes heavily from the Letter to Diognetus, an early Christian work describing how Christians in the Roman Empire went about living as the leaven in the loaf. While both writers explore the post-Christian landscape, Chaput’s overall vision and hope seems to be very different from Dreher’s exclusivism, and a closer reflection of where our society is, and where the Church fits into the world.