Rod Dreher has been asking lately whether various Christian traditions possess the resources that need to practice a genuinely countercultural form of Christianity — what Rod is calling the Benedict Option. He’s been getting different answers about different traditions from different people, but for what it’s worth, my answer is that every Christian tradition that is a tradition has all the resources it needs — except, perhaps, the one resource without which all the others are useless.
In today’s post he quotes a passage from his forthcoming book in which he asks Marco Sermarini, one of the leaders of an intentional Christian community in Italy, what other Christians can learn from what Marco and his friends are doing: “Start by getting serious about living as Christians, he said. Accept that there can be no middle ground.”
That’s it, I think. You have to get to the end of your rope, you have to come to the point where you can’t live any longer as everyone around you is living. If you come to that point, then every serious Christian tradition, from Pentecostalism to Orthodoxy, has what it takes to nourish and support you. But none of those traditions can, in itself, bring you to that point. (I am not yet at that point myself: I am too caught up in the various rewards that this present age has to offer.)
Depending on where you live, you might look around you and find charismatics who are faithfully seeking to make their own countercultural way, or Baptists, or Presbyterians, or Catholics — heck, even Anglicans. It depends on whether in a given place there is a critical mass of people whom the Holy Spirit has moved to say: Enough. Lord, now give us the living water.