First Things First

God bless Rod Dreher for continuing to post critiques of his Benedict Option. But I still haven’t seen a critique that is genuinely to the point — they all seem to be responding to things that Rod hasn’t said and to be emphasizing their commitment to the undisputed claim that Christians need to be active in the world in order to bear witness. Well, sure. What Christian would say otherwise?

But here’s the key thing. What do they always tell you before the plane takes off? Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. When Christians stride confidently out to change the world without having first taken care to be fully shaped and formed by the Christian account of things, they (a) have very little that’s distinctive to offer others and (b) are themselves easily swayed by thoroughly non-Christian ways of thinking and acting, with results we have recently had thoroughly documented for us.

Ultimately, whatever specific form the Benedict Option takes, this is what it’s about: securing our own oxygen mask first before attempting to assist others.