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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?