Friday, April 7, 2017

Thoughts on the “Benedict Option” – A Lament

From Scriptorium Daily-

For years Rod Dreher (senior editor at The American Conservative) has been writing about his “Benedict Option.” Now his book of the same title has finally appeared. To be honest, I have not been convinced by his articles addressing the Benedict Option and his book fails to convince me too. James K. A. Smith published a trenchant critique almost immediately and so did Alan Jacobs (there are, of course, a host of other critical reactions to Dreher) and I mostly agree with both of them from a theological point of view. Dreher paints with brush strokes that are too broad (too metaphysical and absolutist, says Jacobs), too alarmist (“fundamentalism without the rapture,” writes Smith) and in a spirit that seems to ignore or deny the catholicity of the Christian Church by a “repackaging of the historic disciplines and formative practices of the church retroactively [that] makes newcomers and outsiders mistake the Great Tradition with the narrowness of the Benedict Option” (Smith). Everything about Dreher’s proposal sounds too doomsday-ish, too idiosyncratic, too parachurch-y and, well, too cynical. But what I really lament is that another Christian author has managed to misrepresent monasticism, again.

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