The other day Rod Dreher referred to me as a “friendly critic” of the Benedict Option. I prefer to say that I’m an occasionally critical friend. I have some reservations about how Rod frames his project — see this post and this one — and I have major reservations about the history he uses to explain how we got to where we are. But the heart of the BenOp, as I understand it, may be found in what I have described as three premises and a conclusion, and in that post I commented that “I simply do not see how any thoughtful Christian could disagree with any of these premises or the conclusion that follows from them.” So I think that makes me a paid-up member of #TeamBenOp.
The questions for me, as we go forward, are as follows:
- I think there are likely to be ways other than the ones Rod describes in his book to pursue this project of Christian intellectual and moral renewal — ways that are more engaged with and less strictly oppositional to contemporary culture. What might those ways look like, and how can they retain their integrity?
- How can Christians who support the BenOp and those who don’t treat one another with forbearance and charity, and maybe even learn from one another?