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The next chapter of The Benedict Option is entitled “Preparing for Hard Labor.” It is an informative chapter, and quite solid in diagnosing what we are currently up against. In this chapter, Dreher describes the stranglehold that advocates of the new order have managed to get on the old economy.

He begins by noting that hard work is a creational blessing. “Work is a good thing, even a holy thing, but it must not be allowed to dominate one’s life” (Loc. 2641). The implication of this praise of hard work is that believers need to get used to working hard with their hands because the white collar world has been captured by the bad guys. “In its 2016 report, over half of the top twenty U.S. companies have a perfect score. To fail to score high is considered a serious problem within leading corporations” (Loc. 2664). The perfect score, in case you were wondering, is one awarded by an LGBT persecution guide.

“We may not (yet) be at the point where Christians are forbidden to buy and sell in general without state approval” (Loc. 2655).

Of course this is not exactly a new technique.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:16–17).

And the clerk at Safeway cheerfully asked, “Do you have your Rainbow Rewards card yet?”

“Naturally if one doesn’t wear the badge” (Loc. 2672), one is readily identified an enemy of all mankind, not to mention OOC (Orgasms of Choice, a new national youth organization).

But believers don’t want to sign on to anything their conscience forbids. Right? “To sign the oath, they believe, would be the modern equivalent of burning a pinch of incense before a statue of Caesar” (Loc. 2674).

We may not be there yet, but as this chapter does demonstrate, we can see it from here. And this brings up the crucial thing that is missing from Dreher’s calculations. What Dreher addresses here is informative and helpful, but when we ask the actual question that the current climate poses—which is “how can we get away from this?—the only possible answer is “outside the legal economy.”

There are places in this chapter where Dreher recognizes that the oppression is going to be across the board, but there are other places where he seems to think that faithful Christians could somehow retreat into the trades.

He urges us, for example, “back to the trades” (Loc. 2841). “Better to be a plumber with a clean conscience than a corporate lawyer with a compromised one” (Loc. 2844). But the secularists will not have forgotten the plumbers. They will not be leaving the plumbers alone.

“An aspiring Christian academic might have to be happy with the smaller salary and lower prestige of teaching at a classical Christian high school” (Loc. 2856).

But they will not be leaving the small classical Christian high schools alone either. They have to make payroll. Will the school be withholding taxes from the paychecks? Will any conditions be placed on those who make payroll? Well, I wouldn’t call them conditions, would you? Not unless you are against equality for all, friend . . .

Here Dreher is, at his grim best. The “only thing standing between an employer or employee and a court action is the imagination of LGBT plaintiffs and their lawyers” (Loc. 2685). You may not be interested, but “the issue will come and find you.” (Loc. 2691). Yes, and amen.

But then he appears to think that there is an escape into the trades, or into small retail. “The goal is to create business and career opportunities” (Loc. 2765). Maybe you could start your own business that becomes “a niche powerhouse” (Loc. 2778). We need hard-working Christians who are “independent-minded” (Loc. 2783). “The key to work life under the Benedict Option is no different than today” (Loc. 2767).

But the reason the new order is going to be quite different from our parents’ generation is that the price of admission, to any portion of the legal economy, will be compliance with, and applause for, the entire range of gender options for getting it on. “My gender is Vietnam-era vet, subscriber to Field & Stream, lifetime member of the Kiwanis, and married to my high school sweetheart Millie. We in the VEVFSKHSSM community stand in solidarity with those who married girls named something else.”

So if you find a conscientious Christian tradesman, with a view to you “then patronizing them (Loc. 2792),” you will have to patronize them after hours, and you will have to tell them that Louie sent you. The question is this. Where can Christians flee to be free of these intolerable restraints? There will be two places—Heaven after you die, and illegal transactions off back porches.

They “will have to choose between their Christianity and their careers” (Loc. 2714). Yes, but that will not be the only choice. “In the end, it comes down to what believers are willing to suffer for the faith” (Loc. 2846). Yes, but we also have to decide what we will be willing to do outside the law. That is the most pressing practical question.

Here are a few conversation starters. As Dreher shows in this chapter, these are sorts of conversations we need to have now.

Why is it an offense before God for a believer to take a bribe, but not an offense to give one?

The answer is that a believer holding office ought to do his duty before God without needing additional inducements. People who take bribes pervert justice (1 Sam. 8:3). But in an unjust order, bribes can be offered in order that an official might be induced to do justice. After all, this is what the Bible teaches:

“A gift in secret averts anger, and a concealed bribe, strong wrath” (Prov. 21:14, ESV).

How committed to the authority of Scripture are we?

Here’s another one. Why does faithfulness to Christ require participation in the black market under certain circumstances? Discuss among yourselves.

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jigawatt
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jigawatt

But then he appears to think that there is an escape into the trades, or into small retail.

Small retail — like bakers, photographers, florists?

Alan D. Atchison
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Alan D. Atchison

I think this is the absurdity of retreat. You take more causalities when fleeing the enemy than when standing facing him. It is the same in politics. When you abandon the field of politics or business to the enemy, you’ll find that soon you have nowhere to hide.

David Oman
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David Oman

The thing we have to fight right now, if we want to have any options later, is zoning laws. If zoning laws are relaxed, we can live together with other Christians, grow our food and produce Goods and be significantly more self-sufficient and charitable as well. At the moment we have vast freedom to homeschool, but very little freedom to do anything else at home. Zoning laws and building codes drive up the cost of housing and drive people into the world system, and Christians are doing nothing about it.

MMO
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MMO

Do you have examples where Christians can’t do what you’re describing?

Larry Geiger
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Larry Geiger

David is not talking about Christians. He’s talking about everyone. Some old hippies want to keep a few chickens. Down comes the law. Someone plants a garden. Someone calls the HOA and complains that they are not maintaining the required square footage of appropriate ground cover (grass). Someone goes to the farmers market and brings home several bushel baskets of stuff to can and preserve. Someone calls the health department and down comes the law. Manufacturing food without a permit. Or something. I don’t know. There are a bunch of these cases. Most of them invisible to the legal system… Read more »

David Oma
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David Oma

thank you Larry, I was to busy to try to type up the list you just did

demosthenes1d
Member

Test

MMO
Guest
MMO

Would you want a home-based boat repair business next door to you–parts strewn all over the yard? Would you want a rainbow-painted house next door? How about home-based howling-monkey veterinary hospital and sanctuary next door? I agree the gov’t is way too vast, unwieldy, and meddling, but some zoning laws are common sense.

I think the only solution is to move away from others out into the sticks. Or form a hutterite-style compound if you want to gain more freedom.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

But there has to be a balance between competing needs. I live in a highly urban section of Los Angeles where many of my neighbors keep chickens. If I had liked the thought of being awakened by roosters, I would probably not have chosen the most urban setting imaginable in which to live, but that’s a minor complaint. A major complaint is that chickens in urban settings have been shown to spread disease, and people who want to do this must be willing to have their coops inspected. People should be free to can the produce they buy, but doesn’t… Read more »

Eowyn
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Eowyn

“Willing to have their coops inspected.” Are you totally insane? Never, in a million years, would some bureaucrat be allowed to inspect my coop, or anything on my property, either before, or after it is built.

David Oma
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David Oma

Larry hit it on the head, does that answer your question?

ashv
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ashv

The presence of poor zoning laws doesn’t make the idea bad. I recently read an interesting article on zoning law in Japan and there’s some crucial differences they make – in particular, zoning determines the maximum use for land, so shops can have apartments over them without special zoning, etc.

David Oman
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David Oman

I don’t know if all zoning laws are bad, but any zoning that limits the number of people that can live on a piece of land, or limits a families ability to provide for themselves off their own land is.

to take away someone’s ability to live or provide for themselves so that your neighborhood looks nicer or has higher property values is disgusting.

The Japanese system that you linked does seem better, but high occupancy housing must never be seen as any type of nuisance.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi David. Do you make an exception for something like condominiums where an excess number of people can impose real hardship on neighbors? I am quite sympathetic to the housing needs of large families, but I also have had to run the HOA and deal with problems. We are not individually metered for water, which is very expensive here, and a couple of units with eight occupants can run HOA dues up for everyone. Then there are the inevitable parking issues, noise problems, and so on. That being said, I don’t personally favor legal restrictions. But I do see this… Read more »

bethyada
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I see you are transitioning to a new comment system?

bethyada
Member

Why is it an offense before God for a believer to take a bribe, but not an offense to give one? This is a question I asked—well I asked if it is ever okay to give a bribe? You question was my answer and my answer your question. But this was after a lot of thinking over a long time and discussion with other Christians who were of various help (mainly those who have actually been told to provide a bribe in the third world). I think you question and answer are absolutely correct. But something of such importance… why… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I’ve been mulling this over, bethyada. Clearly a bribe given to subvert justice is immoral. It would be wicked to attempt to bribe a juror. But, what if you are visiting a country without a properly functioning justice system? What if it is well known that a tourist may be arrested on a trumped up charge, and he can either pay the bribe or go to jail to wait for an unfair trial? Could the bribe in that case be seen as a hidden cost of visiting a country like that? Of course, that assumes that the tourist is innocent.… Read more »

bethyada
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italics</i?
[i]italics[/i]

bethyada
Member

test

Jennie
Member

test

holmegm
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holmegm

So how do ya make them here?

bethyada
Member

No edit function?

Is there a way to login to stop entering the antispam code?

bold

quote

strike

Valerie (Kyriosity)
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*Weeps inconsolably over the loss of the edit function.*

Are we supposed to be able to login using Twitter? Because I can’t figure that out…

kyriosity
Member

Aha…this one finally showed up. But now I’m logged in with WordPress and testing again to see what it does with my username.

Chad Barnes
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Disqus announced that they would begin censoring comments, so we opted to switch providers. You should now have the ability to login with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or WordPress.com. Contact me at [email protected] if you have any trouble.

kyriosity
Member

Thanks muchly for your work on this, Chad!

bethyada
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Can you add google plus to the login categories?

Jane
Member

Agreed. I prefer not to use Facebook logins elsewhere, and I don’t tweet.

Chad Barnes
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Got it done.

bethyada
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Webmaster, note also that your page rendering on phones (mobile version of page) is very wide, twice what it should be. The right side of the screen is blank though. I am running android.

Chad Barnes
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Do you still see this issue? All appears well to me on my mobile device…

Jane
Member

Just trying to figure out how to log in….

mikebull1
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I don’t believe things are that grim. If we step away for a moment from the threat posed against Christians, the bigger picture may be quite different. The rainbow crowd is vocal but if it actually hits the fan we will see how few and frail the pansies are when faced with people who will not cow to their manipulations of the law and are willing to be incarcerated or even die for their cause. In their stupid quest for ever fresh fields of oppressed minorities, they have now managed to alienate and vilified an enormous percentage of the population… Read more »

John
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test

Heidi_storage
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Heidi_storage

I can’t link right now, but in Ontario the government may take away children from parents who do not accept the children’s gender or sexuality identity.

My Portion Forever
Member

Is there a way to log in besides facebook and twitter?

Kevin
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We will have to see. It’s a mystery so far.

bethyada
Member

I note the irony of wanting to upvote your comment but I cannot without logging in.

My Portion Forever
Member

likewise!

jonmnoel
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I know. I’m not going to create a facebook or twitter account just to login to a comment section

Jane
Member

I have a Facebook account, but I have this silly idea that I only want to use it for Facebook (or Spotify, just because that makes logging in easier there.)

Jane
Member

And why are all my comments going to moderation? Is that happening to everyone?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

No, it isn’t. I think they must finally be on to you.

Of course, in order to post this inane remark, I will have to have at least three stabs at typing the captcha code so I hope you appreciated it.

My Portion Forever
Member

I am uncomfortable with flippantly resorting to illegal actions, be it bribery or black market. I don’t think Pastor Wilson is flippant, but he did not bring up any reservations about it either.
Scripture calls us to submit to the government as a default, unless doing so would cause us to sin. Here, I do see the very real possibility of being forced into that when buying and selling would require endorsing sin and godlessness. I just think that we should not resort to that too quickly. We represent Christ.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think there are prudent things Christians can do to minimize their risk which are also legal. I would not personally have a problem providing cakes and flowers to a gay wedding, but I expect I might have a problem if I were asked to be a singer at the church. Wouldn’t be possible to organize with other singers to align themselves as potentially on the payroll for only certain denominational churches? Currently, there is no requirement that a Christian school hire lesbians and gays. Catholic schools have been upheld by the courts for firing teachers who got gay married… Read more »

wisdumb
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wisdumb

Please rethink your post. Who/what is our government? What is it’s foundations, and where did it come from? Does each and every regulation that our bureaucracy dreams up, become binding on us?

My Portion Forever
Member

wisdumb, I understand where you are coming from, and there has to be “wisdom” in how we respond. It ain’t simple. But is our default going to be doing things our own way, or will it be to bend over backward to be good citizens who bring honor to God? I don’t believe Peter or Paul were living under a very godly, just, or ethical government when they, through the Holy Spirit, instructed believers to submit to the government (unless they try to force you to disobey God). Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Test

Oscar
Member

Paying bribes is a fairly common practice when adopting internationally.

Dave W
Guest
Dave W

Pastor Doug, It is not obvious the Bible teaches us to give bribes to officials to achieve justice in times of injustice. All the text says is that bribes are effective in pacifying anger; for all we know it could have been righteous anger of a righteous official against an evil person, which then is pacified by a bribe, which is a sinful interaction God condemns. Now I agree with the spirit of the article, but the preceding looks like a real mistake. Our government is largely The Beast; my allegiance is to the One sitting in heaven, and I’m… Read more »

wisdumb
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wisdumb

The ‘black’ market is the only true market. Other market indicators are augmented by some amount of coercion, be it taxation, regulation, or crowd-shaming.

Jane
Member

So a friend wants to know, has anyone managed to log in here using Twitter?

wisdumb
Guest
wisdumb

It looks like all the old comments are now lost

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You can find them all on disqus. Just click on your name. I was also able to find them by using the Select Month feature.

valerieab
Member

test

valerieab
Member

Hmmm…so it seems to be pulling avatars from Gravatar. Let’s see what happens when I change it.

No editing function (*sob*).
Must opt in every. single. time. to receive reply notifications (*ugh*).
Captcha (*meh*).
No ads or thought policing (*HURRAH!!!*)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

If I didn’t have ads, how would I know what to buy?

holmegm
Guest
holmegm

Speaking of your rainbow rewards card … I walked into a Kroger and saw this giant display of goldfish crackers, the beloved childhood snack. With said display having rainbows, and language about smiles for ALL families, and “pride” and so forth, nudge nudge wink wink. Couldn’t believe my eyes, had to circle it a few times and make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. I considered possibly complaining to Kroger, but soon saw the large Kroger sign, stating their emphatic commitment to pride parades and all that go with them. Um. One might as well complain to the… Read more »

Ian Miller
Member

I am curious – it feels very difficult to discuss the homosexual agenda, because either your interlocutor is in good faith and a useful idiot, or actively engaged in the desire to reshape (actually destroy) society in their own image.

Barnie
Guest
Barnie

This mark of the beast is interesting. Is it taken all at once or slowly over a number of years? What if I can dig up a plausible scriptural loophole. There is neither male nor female in Christ, right? Why is everything always about homosexuality? Do you tell any little white lies and nuance the Word so that you might keep buying and selling and keep an angry mob from your door?

Barnie
Guest
Barnie

I saw a Ligonier panel discussion recently and they were discussing the anti-Semitism of Martin Luther. It seems very likely that if Luther were in the church today that he would lose any leadership position he held and come under church discipline if he refused to renounce such views. That got me thinking about current Christian doctrine (written and unwritten) and how it evolves. The church has only very recently come to understand the sinfulness of Luther’s beliefs and I doubt very much whether the church would have come to such an understanding without the contribution of secular academics and… Read more »

Tyler Riggs
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Tyler Riggs

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