I don’t know exactly what Benedict Option evangelism might look like. I don’t know what kind of diminished numbers of converts we might see in the coming decades as a result of the collapse of American “Christendom.” But I do imagine that if Christians decide to do what Griffiths recommended in his blog post—if we begin to polish and attend afresh to our own practices of discipleship and faithfulness—we may end up seeing many more people embrace what the church teaches about marriage as both comprehensible and convincing. It has happened already for some, and it will go on happening, please God.
Wesley Hill. I think this is true, but I want also to suggest that Wesley may be thinking about these matters in ways that are not fully compatible with the BenOp idea, at least as I understand it. I think these reservations apply also to Leah Libresco’s recent reflections.
Both Wesley and Leah write about the BenOp as something that could be attractive right here and right now, especially to people of their generation. And that may well be true. But the emphasis of the BenOp, as I understand it, is to focus our attention on very long-term strategies: how can people devoted to serious, authentic, deeply traditional Christian living (faith, thought, action) be shepherded through a culture that acts as a powerful corrosive upon that form of living? — a culture in which almost no one will think that form of living attractive, because they have been catechized into another and very different way of life?
I’m groping for the right metaphor here, but I think that Wesley and Leah are wondering how we orthodox Christians will do in the cultural Olympics, and I’m saying that we can’t think about that now because we need to dress our many wounds.