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The Benedict Option – Part 2

posted May 2, 2017, 10:29 AM by First Baptist


In this present series of articles, I’m reviewing The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher.


Dreher argues that Christianity in America is under existential threat. “Existential” means having to do with its very existence. He says that not since the fall of the Roman Empire at the end of the 5th century is the outlook for the Church in the West so bleak.


The Church needs a new strategy. And that’s the subtitle for the book: “A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.”



The Strategy in a Nutshell


Quoting from the book:


“The way forward is actually the way back – all the way to St. Benedict of Nursia. The sixth-century monk, horrified by the moral chaos following Rome’s fall, retreated to the forest and created a new way of life for Christians. He built enduring Christian communities based on principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer. His spiritual centers of hope were strongholds of light throughout the Dark Ages, and saved not just Christianity but Western civilization.”


Dreher’s main thesis is that, for the sake of the Christian faith, and especially for the sake of our children, serious Christians can no longer afford to be as engaged with the world around us. In short, we must retreat from the culture in meaningful ways and embrace a simpler, more disciplined, and more communal existence.



The Idea of a Christian Village


By “communal,” Dreher means vastly closer relationships with fellow believers in the church. Here are some of the statements I highlighted in this chapter:


§  The church can’t just be the place you go on Sundays – it must become the center of your life.

§  Your kids need to see you and your spouse sacrificing participation in other activities if they conflict with church. Whenever church is sacrificed for something else, you are communicating to your children in a not-so-subtle-way the secondary importance of their spiritual life.

§  Raise your kids to know that your family is different – and don’t apologize for it.

§  Make certain your kids’ closest friends are in the church. Nothing forms a young person’s character like their peers.

§  At the same time, make sure your children have spiritual heroes (i.e., others in the church whom your children can admire for their spiritual maturity).

§  Understand that technology isn’t morally neutral; restrict & monitor its use in the home and church.

§  In selecting a church, we typically equate size with success (the American mindset), but the size of a church isn’t as important as its depth. The depth of the pastor’s sermon will typically provide valuable insight into the spiritual depth of a church.


Next week: Dreher has some important things to say about education.



Pastor Dan