Catacombs or Cloister?

So I would like to invite you to read through The Benedict Option with me. For the most part we will go a chapter at a time, although this first time out we will take the Introduction and Chapter One together. For various reasons this is an important book, and how we respond to it is important. And how we process the issues it is addressing will be even more important.

To his credit, Rod Dreher sees that things around us are pretty bad. To the extent that this book provokes Christians into that mindset called “not kidding ourselves anymore,” it is all to the good.

Let’s get the grim report first—“has now ended in defeat for Christian conservatives” (Loc. 83), “the light of Christianity is flickering out all over the West” (Loc. 132), “this may not be the end of the world, but it is the end of a world” (Loc. 135), “the swift and relentless currents of secularism” (Loc. 142), “the Waterloo of religious conservatism” (Loc. 147), “nobody but the most deluded of the old-school Religious Right believes that this cultural revolution can be turned back” (Loc. 192), “unwinnable political battles” (Loc. 199), and “if the demographic trends continue, our churches will soon be empty” (Loc. 157).

We should be grateful to Dreher for the wake-up call. Things really are bad.

But what kind of bad? Bad news could include the fact that you have bone cancer, or it could alternatively mention the fact that an asteroid is going to land on your house. Both of these things are sufficiently bad, but the remedial measures will look completely different in each case. And this means that before taking remedial measures, you have to decide what kind of bad you are up against. If it is going to be the asteroid, there will be no point standing on your front porch with a bottle of chemo pills.

Dreher appears not to have settled this crucial question in his mind, and unfortunately it affects his entire Benedict thesis. This is what I mean. In the ancient world, Christians were up against it in the first century, when Rome began her first persecution of the Christians, and they were up against it in the sixth century, when Benedict laid down his rule. But in the first case, they were up against a hegemonic, swollen, persecuting world power, and in the latter case they were up against the disarray and ruin that had resulted from the collapse of that civilization.

There is a difference, in other words, between a totalitarian surveillance state and a failed state. Now if I were seeking to prepare Christians for the coming hardscrabble times, it would matter whether I was preparing Christians in Beijing for another crack-down from the commies, or Christians in Somalia, preparing for a period of anarchistic foment and unrest. The difference in response is the difference between the catacombs and the cloister.

And the difficulty here is that Dreher has apparently not made up his mind. The Benedict illustration indicates that he believes that Christians will have to be rebuilding true community in the midst of sixth century rubble. But he says other things that would place us in the first century, with pagan persecutors at the height of their insolence and pride.

Here is the rubble option: “In these miserable conditions, the church was often the strongest—and perhaps the only—government people had” (Loc. 244).

And here is the intact and hostile power option: “if believers don’t come out of Babylon and be separate” (Loc. 286).

Suppose we follow “the example of Saint Benedict” (Loc. 202) Will IRS men pursue us there? Suppose we imitate Christians of the third century, retreating “”to the Egyptian desert, renouncing all bodily comfort” (Loc. 228). Will there be men from the government there, requiring the monks to share the latrine with a goat-worshiping priest down the path, a guy the locals call Queenie?

Dreher speaks of barbarism and darkness. But is it the kind that Benedict faced, or the kind that Polycarp faced? Everything depends on the answer. Every practical decision we might face is going to be governed by the answer to that question. And Dreher is equivocal on the point—“the coming ages of barbarism and darkness” (Loc. 277), “to form communities within which the life of virtue can survive the long Dark Age to come” (Loc. 281), “a Dark Age that could last centuries” (Loc. 284). He is not equivocal on whether it is going to be grim. But I cannot make out what kind of grim.

If you are building in the rubble, you are in the position of Nehemiah. There can be some opposition from some local warlords, but the centralized power was a long way off. But if you are building in the belly of the beast, then your preparations have to include the understanding that all your activities, all your gatherings, all your efforts, will be illegal. If we “embrace ‘exile in place’” (Loc. 291), and if we build a “vibrant counterculture” (Loc. 291), then we will have to do so on the lam.

Now I agree with Dreher, completely, that “we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation” (Loc. 199). I agree also that those involved have to “respond creatively” (Loc. 251).

But a creative response has to settle on what the actual threat is. Do we send the flood engineers or the fire department? Are we up against a consolidated paganism, with centuries of spiteful life in her? Or are we up against a decrepit form of secularism, a polity with the staggers? Now I suspect that Dreher leans to the former, despite his ambiguity, and I am emphatically in the latter camp. This means, ironically, that I believe the Benedict scenario is on point, apropos and, as Augustine once put it in that pithy way of his, the butterfly’s boots.

So I agree that “the post-Roman system was too far gone to be saved” (Loc. 279). I mean, their counterparts today don’t even know what a girl is. They posture and yell a lot, but they don’t have a clue.

“To live ‘after virtue,’ then, is to dwell in a society that not only can no longer agree on what constitutes virtuous belief and conduct but also doubts that virtue exists” (Loc. 260).

A relativistic society like this cannot sustain anything for very long. That would include persecution, incidentally. George Carlin once joked that he came from a neighborhood that was so rough that the Unitarians burned a question mark on his lawn. There is a reason the joke works, and in that reason is some reason to hope for safety.

“Could it be that the best way to fight the flood is to . . . stop fighting the flood?” (Loc.  197).

If fighting the flood means an attempt to restore a repristinated Leave It to Beaver America, then Dreher is exactly right. Save your breath for walking uphill, for those days are long gone. But if it means that it is futile to fight incoherent folly in the halls of power, then I think I have to differ. However, it is futile to fight secular folly with secularized Christian folly-lite.

And last, Dreher refers to “an unpopular truth: politics will not save us” (Loc. 288). This is exactly right, but it does not follow from this that politics cannot be saved. But how will they hear without a preacher?

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Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

Now I agree with Dreher, completely, that “we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation” (Loc. 199). I agree also that those involved have to “respond creatively” (Loc. 251).

Goodness gracious–you agree all right. I don’t know of anyone who has done more of that exact same stuff.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Yes — Doug & Friends really have begun building marvelous model mini-(semi-)utopian communities.
(No sarcasm here — They are a definition of what Scripture calls the “gift” to the church)

But when you’re stuck somewhere in the rest of earth, what are you supposed to do?

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Pine for the fjords of Moscow? Except I think it’s landlocked. Well, pine.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

I think Moscow is a start. But it — and by “it” I mean the flavor of Doug’s particular communities — is not and should not be to everyone’s taste. There be Roman Catholics, for example, that shouldn’t be expected to be all that keen on a lot of stuff. So I hope they build their own analogous communities. There be arminio-Christians who should do the same. As Orthodoxians, Anglicanistas, etc. I’m sure those communities are out there in miniscule, somewhere … Though I’m not sure we need to be quite so segregated into teams. I’d love to see Dougville… Read more »

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Human institutions don’t seem to last long. None of the churches named in the NT is still around, is it? If they can’t make it, what hope have our little efforts? I think DW is the wisest and best planner of this kind of thing but I’m afraid that’s not saying much. OTOH, if God wants an institution, he’ll have it.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

So yeah — none of those particular “institutions” last long, BUT …

They also weren’t “there” much before the letters to them went out.
Yet He did choose to establish them — for a time … in their time.

We aren’t here very long neither.
Our parents are already gone.

“Our little efforts” (+God’s help) = all we got, no?

I guess I’m looking for Douglian types to build a replicable template.
His denomination is a fail on that count, at least so far.
But good on him for the start.

insanitybytes22
Member

“None of the churches named in the NT is still around, is it?”

I’m pretty sure I’ve attended the Corinthian church on a few occasions.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Oh. You mean a really messed up church, don’t you? Took me a while.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hey, what about the Romans? We’re still here.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

:)

Evan
Guest
Evan

You guys are still here because you haven’t responded appropriately to the epistle addressed to you lol. ;). God is patient.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I am still trying to figure it out! I find Romans exceptionally difficult.

Evan
Guest
Evan

I see. Which portions do you find difficult and in what way? (If you don’t mind me asking)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t understand all the teaching about the law in Chapter Seven.

Evan
Guest
Evan

Okay. Would you say that chapter is difficult for Roman Catholics in general or just for you personally? Also, when you say the “teaching” what are you referring to; the words, the flow of the argument, the context, or ? I’m just looking to quench my curiosity, sorry.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I can’t answer your first question because I don’t think I have ever discussed it with any Catholics. If I had, I would have been told that it is a sacred mystery–which is Catholic-talk for “you are not going to understand this, so let it go.” Why does Paul say Christians are free from the law when our Lord said that not one jot or tittle would be abolished? Why does he say that when clearly we are still bound by the ten commandments? How does sin use the law to deceive us? Why does he think that knowledge of… Read more »

Evan
Guest
Evan

Good questions. As a Protestant I can’t help but recommend calvins commentary on romans 7. Maybe shed some light on one or two of your questions anyway?

lndighost
Member

The ‘It’s a sacred mystery’ line is a convenient way out of thinking about things, but the Reformed ‘I know exactly how this works and it fits neatly in this box’ line often doesn’t cut it either!

soylentg
Member

Quote: “Why does Paul say Christians are free from the law when our Lord said that not one jot or tittle would be abolished? Why does he say that when clearly we are still bound by the ten commandments? How does sin use the law to deceive us? Why does he think that knowledge of the law makes us sin more, not less? Knowing that the law forbids theft doesn’t make me want to go steal something. If our life is no longer controlled by the flesh, why do we have temptations until the day we die? What is the… Read more »

Carson Spratt
Member

Although Utopia has a decidedly negative and humanist connotation to it.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

“read through The Benedict Option with me”

How much time do we have?

While you read like a banshee, others like me will take a couple weeks.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

The Benedict Option? It won’t seem much like an “option” when everybody down to truck drivers and grocery cashiers have to sign a progressive statement of faith to get or keep their jobs, or to even buy the groceries. That Mark of the Beast thing sounds more possible every year.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Can’t help but be reminded of the Galt’s Gulch option in Atlas Shrugged

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I always wondered what those people talked about in their down time. I mean, you can’t spend every moment discussing the supremacy of the intellect and the nobility of man. Did they ever gossip or complain about the neighbors’ music or talk about major league baseball?

demosthenes1d
Member

If Ayn Rand and her cronies are any guide they probably occupied themselves by preening insufferably, arranging affairs and sexual escapades, making fun of plebs, and stabbing each other in the back.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You sure are right about that! One of the biographies I read made them sound like the most dreary people imaginable, analyzing all their thoughts, picking on each other, and playing musical beds with people who weren’t always all that willing. Ayn the Guru even dictated the kind of music that could be listened to–and it wasn’t rock ‘n roll. It was an interesting illustration of idolatry.

Bro. Steve
Guest
Bro. Steve

The “Mark of the Beast thing” seems to be getting closer every technological hour. John’s prediction of a globally pervasive, economically controlled, idolatrous, tattoo-loving super-state is one of the most startling pieces of prophecy ever.

insanitybytes22
Member

I love how people tell me they will all bravely and boldly resist the mark of the beast….while getting all excited about their new chipped debit cards and having their pets implanted with tracking devices.

ashv
Guest
ashv

comment image

(Seriously though the EMV credit/debit cards are just a straight security upgrade, they’re only bad if you’re into credit card fraud)

insanitybytes22
Member

Seriously. If even ashv can justify and rationalize the sheer logic and brilliance behind simply implanting a little chip in our thumbs to prevent credit card fraud, well, that is exactly my point.

Human nature suggests that rather than boldly resisting the mark, we’ll actually be eagerly lining up.

ashv
Guest
ashv

LOL I forgot who I was responding to.

Your friends have EMV chips in their thumbs? How do they fit them in the little reader slot?

insanitybytes22
Member

And how could I forget who I was speaking too? Obviously I have no idea of what I speak, since people don’t actually have flat thumbs that could fit in that little slot.

Whew! Thank you Lord, we seem to have dodged a bullet there! No worries folks, the mark of the beast has been completely thwarted by the opposable thumb brigade.

And the enemy, now completely dejected looks on, “Alas, how will I ever get their fat thumbs to fit into that tiny slot?”

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It’s the 666 under the hairline that we need to worry about. I saw “The Omen.”

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

How do we know that a security chip is what the scriptural writers meant by the mark of the beast? Couldn’t that mark have been something else entirely?

Carson Spratt
Member

The voice of preterism, thank goodness.

Evan
Guest
Evan

Please read before this madness goes on any further:

“The computer chip idea may excite the minds of devotees of science fiction, but it should not sway devotees of God’s historical word.”

https://postmillennialismtoday.com/2015/09/30/computers-the-beast-and-666/

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Thank you, that was clear. I think there are good reasons to fear loss of our privacy and to fear excessive surveillance, but I had not thought it was possible to offend God by innocently taking advantage of some piece of technology. As if microchipping our cats could offend our Lord! If I get any more forgetful, I may need to get microchipped myself in case I go wandering off!

Evan
Guest
Evan

Good idea. I think my boys could use a chip. They’re prone to wander, especially out in public.

ashv
Guest
ashv

I’m sure there’s plenty of people who wish they could build such a monstrosity! Meanwhile in the real world, I can’t get a credit card reader to take my money more than 9 times out of 10.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I’m not sure that the tellers aren’t worse. I just emerged this morning from a struggle with a bank clerk who did not accept an Alien Registration Card as a valid form of ID.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Jelly, you should have asked him if he watched the movie Men In Black and that your card was ID for those living in different star systems visiting the USA. Bank tellers and others can’t count money properly at all Stupid is very strong right now.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

A recent survey in Oklahoma found that only one child in ten in the 6-12 age group could read a non-digital clock.

Evan
Guest
Evan

It sounds like it was pretty startling back when it happened around 70 ad. Glad thats over. ;)

Evan
Guest
Evan

It better happen quick because the secret rapture is supposed to happen this September. Guy in my church quit his job and is vacationing all summer to enjoy his last days on this God forsaken earth. #stopthemadness #wheremypreteristsat?

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Guy in my church quit his job and is vacationing all summer to enjoy his last days on this God forsaken earth.

I wish I could find these folks when they’re in their “dispose of all my worldly goods” mode. Yeah, I’ll take those gold coins off your hands, my friend. After all, up in Heaven, those will just be pavement.

Evan
Guest
Evan

Wait, were you being facetious with your mark of the beast comment?

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Wait, were you being facetious with your mark of the beast comment?

Not all premills are date-setters :)

Evan
Guest
Evan

Ah, gotcha. I actually should’ve known that, sorry.

Victoria West
Guest
Victoria West

“Loc.” is this some new reference system?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Welcome to the brave, new world!
I think this is how Amazon’s Kindle keeps track of text location in lieu of “page” becoming relative to font size variability.

Ian Miller
Member

Yup – Loc is “location” – the easily replicable position of the page reader – if you have the book in kindle form (you can also read it in the web browser if you buy the book but have no kindle, or can read it on your phone in the kindle app).

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

Thanks for the information. Helpful.

Ian Miller
Member

You’re welcome!

It’s funny – I’m 30, my youngest siblings are 17 and 13, and they feel like reading physical dead tree books is better than ebooks, while I’m pretty much “as long as the words are there, I’m good.”

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

I am a die-hard page turner. It took Doug Wilson to get me online. All my kids are ebook readers, but my wife and I will die with a book by the bed.

Ian Miller
Member

I like having a full library in my pocket. :)

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

And I in my basement!

Ian Miller
Member

Why not both? :)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
Groucho Marx

insanitybytes22
Member

Somewhat amusing, I grew up living the Benedict option, underground, off the grid, totally cloistered from the impending collapse of society, but it was a secular, atheist, form of isolation. Not a happy, healthy childhood at all. So then I claw my way out of that hole, fight my way back into society……only to discover the Christians are now suddenly contemplating the idea! Wut?? Needless to say, I will not be doomsday prepping or shooting the bad guys who come to steal the food stores. Survival is awesome, I’m good at it, but one must be very careful and ask… Read more »

Jon Swerens
Member

This is partly Dreher’s fault for not understanding how evangelicals would receive his metaphors, but no, The Benedict Option is not recommending actual physical cloistering, as far as I can tell. More like building alternate community structures while staying in place: “we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation.”

insanitybytes22
Member

It always makes me laugh when people speak of networks of resistance. I thought we’re building a kingdom here, so you know, world domination is the goal. Go and make disciples of all nations.

Someone always likes to come along and act offended, as if world domination is most impolite. Come now, we’re preparing for the King of Kings here and while humans can certainly foul that up in a million ways, we still have to actually believe it. World domination, not cloisters of resistance. :)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think the phrase itself scares unbelievers unless we’re careful to explain that we are not talking about forcible conversions and using the power of the state to make people act like Christians. It’s hard to blame them when we remember how the Spaniards “converted” their part of the New World. They read a proclamation and persecuted anyone who disagreed.

ashv
Guest
ashv

using the power of the state to make people act like Christians

What else is the state for?

It certainly can’t change hearts, but it can change actions.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I wasn’t meaning acts such as refraining from robbing banks, killing people, and making child pornography. Of course, the purpose of the state is to restrain people from committing crimes. I was thinking more of Cromwell’s Commonwealth–shutting down theatres, compelling church attendance, and sending in spies to stop people from celebrating Christmas. Going back to your comment yesterday, I get that you believe in the divine right of kings. If I were an atheist living in a violent, brutal society, I might accept a Hobbesian bargain where I implicitly obey the king in return for protection and an occasional scrawny… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Sure, but let’s not confuse “acting like a deranged Puritan” and “acting like a Christian”.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

True. But even good people can get deranged when given excessive power over other people’s lives. Without being good, I have struggled for decades to suppress my tendency to march in, boots and all, to impose order on other people’s messes. I would not want to see the outcome if I thought I had been ordered by God and the state to indulge this weakness!

bethyada
Member

Returning home I find the dishes done, the bed made, the floor vacuumed and the cats fed.

I guess Jill the tyrannical despot broke into my house again.

ashv
Guest
ashv

If I found that when I returned home… I would wonder who absconded with my children.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The cats fed, groomed, and wearing pretty little tiaras.

john k
Guest
john k

According to one Father Gregory Elder, the pre-puritan Christmas was marred by drunkenness, extravagance by those who could ill afford it, immoral stage plays, and even promiscuity. He implies that the Puritan episode had a salutary effect–in the Restoration, Christmas revelry was subdued, with a new emphasis on Boxing Day gifts to the poor. http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/social-affairs/20131218/when-christmas-was-banned-in-17th-century-england

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Thank you, that is an interesting article. I was happy to see a Catholic priest giving credit to the Puritans!

ashv
Guest
ashv

What a pity that putting Cromwell’s head on a spike didn’t have a similar salutary effect on republicans….

adad0
Member

I think Cromwell died of natural causes, was buried, and later dug up and hanged, because monarchs are at times that petty. ????

ashv
Guest
ashv

Well, if they hadn’t buried him with honours due a king, there wouldn’t have been any need to do that.

adad0
Member

Yes, we must always be petty and symbolic!

In fact, I myself, am a legend in my own mind!
????????????

Arweb
Guest
Arweb

Given what the locals were getting up to…I don’t blame the Spanish much for how they took care of it.

When your societal practices are too gruesome for Spaniards to stomach…

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Fair point. But the Spanish were also pretty terrible. Then they took the money they extorted from the natives and sacked Rome!

Jon Swerens
Member

I’m not saying I don’t disagree with you …

he said, getting lost in a fog of negatives

adad0
Member

Memi, The Lord told us we are to be “the Salt of the earth”. Little grains, sprinkled on the meat, bringing out its savor.
We are to be a lamp on a stand and a city on a hill, illuminating a cold dark and lost world.
With Gods help we can obey Him in this, wherever He has put us!
;-)

Dave
Guest
Dave

Pig Latin! ME I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read that comment. I haven’t thought of pig Latin in years.

ashv
Guest
ashv

I think it’s worth reiterating, for those who aren’t aware, just how truly worthless Rod Dreher is. Unlike our gracious host, Dreher has never taken a stand that would result in mass outrage and stuck with it. He’s estranged from his family, converted to Catholicism and then Eastern Orthodoxy, and can’t seem to write or talk about anything but himself for more than five minutes at a time. Based on my experience with a narcissist in my own family, I think it’s bad for everyone to give people like this any more attention than necessary. One commenter made this observation:… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I love the way he flashes his acquaintance with great literature while showing he’s just a down-home kind of guy. It would have been even better if the Dante had been in Italian.

ashv
Guest
ashv
Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

That’s a pretty famous book – foundational, really – to modern Dante criticism, particularly in America, although a little dated now. And Auerbach’s thesis is quite wrong. But the original is in German, not Italian.

adad0
Member

Yeah, not a conservative.
It’s just that anyone who writes, has to write for “conservatives”, ’cause most libs ain’t much on reading, see “Stronger Together”.
????

christopherbrehm
Member
christopherbrehm

Great analysis. I received my copy yesterday and plan to read along with you.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Dreher has been talking about the Benedict Option for some time on his blog. Despite this, I actually have no idea what it’s supposed to be. He says it isn’t about withdrawal or retreat, but that seems exactly what it is to me, especially when it trickles down from super thoughtful and motivated people like Dreher to Joe the Plumber who just wants a few simple and clear rules.

Kavveh-El
Guest
Kavveh-El

So, having read the book I’d have to say that Mr. Dreher is a bit nebulous enough that, without a solid underlying worldview that is already focused in that direction, one could easily jump to the conclusion that Dreher is advocating a retreat & withdrawal. Personally, I would have overemphasized the point that this is not what is being called for had I written the book. My take-away from his message was that 1) we as believers must begin to focus our efforts on actually LOVING our neighbors by being more involved in their lives than trying to love everyone… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Nicely put.
Maybe it could be a call to pastors to get with the program of modeling this.

David
Guest
David

“Are we up against a consolidated paganism, with centuries of spiteful life in her? Or are we up against a decrepit form of secularism, a polity with the staggers?” Yes. When things are moving very fast (as they are now) two contradictory-sounding conditions may occur simultaneously. In the midst of a decaying secularist polity with the staggers, a consolidated paganism has appeared. I don’t think this consolidated paganism has “centuries of spiteful life” left in her, but — her decrepitude notwithstanding — her spite may well keep her animated for decades. For a generation, or two. In other words, I… Read more »

Katecho
Member

I agree that we may have a mix of waning secularism, and, at the same time, occasional throes of oppression and tyranny. The problem is that Dreher proposes a Christian response under the Benedictine name. St Benedict was an explicit and thoroughgoing monastic. If Dreher didn’t intend to suggest a monastic response, then he shouldn’t have chosen that name for his book. It’s fine to encourage strong Christian communities, and freedom from dependence on unbelieving secular institutions, but the Rule of Benedictine monasticism entails withdrawal, solitude and cloister. It’s a very stripped down community of rigid, almost punitive, simplicity. Such… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

And that the call to a monastic life is given to very few, and even then you need a remarkably peaceful temperament to make it possible. I think most communities that withdraw from the world end up getting weird rather than holy. It’s different for the Amish because they are raised to it.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Could you give a couple sentences explaining why you think this book is important enough to recommend it as a book study?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

and why it is worth $25 plus shipping and handling?

Evan
Guest
Evan

Yeesh! Do you live in Malaysia?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

That was the price in hard cover. But it’s not the kind of religious book I tend to read, so I won’t worry about the price! When I read the title, I immediately thought of the abdication of the last pope and wondered how that could be an option for Protestants!

Evan
Guest
Evan

Never mind I mis-read. I read it as shipping and handling was $25 lol.

Dave Covarrubias
Guest
Dave Covarrubias

Thank you for your thoughts on this Pastor Doug. I plan on also following along with your insights as I engage with Dreher’s book and this important conversation.