Friday, February 8, 2019

The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher

When I finally got around to listening to The Benedict Option, I was prepared to disagree with quite a bit of it. But I discovered that Dreher and I have more similarities than differences.

He gets off to a slow start with an overview of the history of Western Thought, but this is an extremely important base from which to begin. He clearly shows how our culture has come to the place where we believe that reality is whatever is in our heads. Although the book is aimed at getting Christians to think about creative ways to be counter culture, my biggest takeaway was this philosophical discussion. "To be fully human is to be in touch with reality (i.e., the One-Who-Is)."

These discussions of humanness, God-imaged-ness, and reality are definitely worth the price of the book. (In fact, I can't wait to get my hands on a hard copy so that I can re-read and underline.) His final chapters on marriage and human sexuality are wonderfully clarifying at a time when these topics are becoming blurred. Even if you disagree with Dreher on some things (as I did ), his clarity of reasoning will cause you to think hard about your values and beliefs.

I've failed to mention the main premise of the book. The Benedict Option refers to small Christian communities that live out their faith away from the pressures and sinfulness of the general populace. Dreher rightly notes that religious freedom is the key to retaining rights to form such communities. My doubt is whether or not our increasingly totalitarian government will countenance such groups.

A very compelling read! Have you read it? What did you think?

Here is the link to an article strongly opposed to The Benedict Option.



Beth said...

I just bought this book last month, but haven’t picked it up yet. I’m glad to know that it will be worth my money.

GretchenJoanna said...

I am pleased to know that you found the foundational premise to be about living in touch with reality. That philosophical beginning should not surprise me; it makes me want to read more. I have thought time and again of reading this book, but don't know if I've read a whole review of it. I read Rod Dreher's blog all the time, though, and should probably get down to business and read his book. Your review was refreshingly short, personal, and specific about a couple of points. Thank you!