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The Benedict Option

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The Benedict Option

Postby darinhouston » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:49 am

Has anyone read this book? It's making the rounds in some classical school circles. Could use one of Matt's great reviews.

The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KUCY7XI/re ... 6ybMAJJ58V


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Re: The Benedict Option

Postby mattrose » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:26 pm

I added it to my amazon wish list about a week ago after hearing it get mentioned in a few different places. But I'm not sure when I'll actually purchase it. Could be interesting.
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Re: The Benedict Option

Postby darinhouston » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:20 pm

mattrose wrote:I added it to my amazon wish list about a week ago after hearing it get mentioned in a few different places. But I'm not sure when I'll actually purchase it. Could be interesting.


I'll buy it for you if you'll review it -- ;)
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Re: The Benedict Option

Postby mattrose » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:08 pm

Haha

I'm actually turning my blog (which I had basically stopped using a few years ago) into a book review site.

I love books and am usually reading quite a few at a time. The other day I had to tell my wife that things had gotten a little out of hand. I have started (with intention of finishing) 18 books. I have a bathroom book, a car book, a waiting for the school bus book, a bathroom at work book, various books I'm using for current teaching/preaching series, etc.

I really mark up my books. Lots of underlining and notes. But even still, I'm finding that I retain information much better when I summarize and review. So I'm excited to turn my blog into a personal resource for just that.
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Re: The Benedict Option

Postby darinhouston » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:33 pm

mattrose wrote:Haha

I'm actually turning my blog (which I had basically stopped using a few years ago) into a book review site.

I love books and am usually reading quite a few at a time. The other day I had to tell my wife that things had gotten a little out of hand. I have started (with intention of finishing) 18 books. I have a bathroom book, a car book, a waiting for the school bus book, a bathroom at work book, various books I'm using for current teaching/preaching series, etc.

I really mark up my books. Lots of underlining and notes. But even still, I'm finding that I retain information much better when I summarize and review. So I'm excited to turn my blog into a personal resource for just that.


Well, you do quite a good job of it. I guess I'll just have to wait.
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Re: The Benedict Option

Postby psimmond » Mon May 01, 2017 5:40 pm

The little bit that I've read makes me think of the Amish lifestyle.

This seems to be a movement motivated by fear: If we don't huddle up in tight communities, we'll disappear.

I haven't read the book, but if it endorses anything like the above, I'm not a fan.
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Re: The Benedict Option

Postby mattrose » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:35 pm

I'm not ready to write a 'review' (need to chew on it some more)

But I did finish it, finally, and here are my summaries of each chapter

The Benedict Option
“A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation”
By Rod Dreher

Introduction
Mainstream society and a Christian community with traditional values have irreconcilable differences. Inevitably, if believers do not form radical sub-cultures, Christianity in America will be assimilated into the mainstream.

The Great Flood
Christianity is disappearing in the West. It’s demise will likely occur within 100 years if the trajectory remains steady. It’s not just the liberal elite attacking the general populace. The majority of people approve. The culture war has been lost.
Society is, essentially, in a state of Barbarianism. Traditional Christianity is being replaced with, at best, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. We should no longer be trying to prevent this catastrophe. It’s over. Politics can’t save us. It’s time to build something new… like Benedict did long ago.

The Roots of the Crisis
We are living with the consequences of ideas accepted many generations ago. There are a lot of reasons, spanning 700 years, why we are where we are at, but the bottom line is that we are now in a very dark age.

A Rule for Living
The Benedict option is about saying NO to the world and YES to God. Our culture lives as if God does not exist. The Benedict option is about finding the presence of God in everyday life. It is a proven strategy that could help us survive this time of testing by practicing disciplines of order, prayer, work, asceticism, stability, community, hospitality, and balance. This is not an escape from the real world but a way to see that world and dwell it in as it truly is. We transform the world only as the Spirit transforms us. The Benedict option changes the way we think about politics, church, family, community, education, jobs, sexuality, and technology.

A New Kind of Christian Politics
The Benedict Option calls for antipolitical politics. The best we can hope for, from politics, is that they leave or create some space (religious liberty) for the church to do its thing. We should not vacate our responsibilities as citizens, but we must speak prophetically and work prudently (something we have not been doing). The real work we should be doing is INSIDE, not outside the church. There is no silent majority in America. It’s over. We won’t turn this culture ‘Christian’ again. We can’t change the system. We must build a new, parallel, system instead and slowly push outward. We must start small. We can’t do this because it’ll work quickly. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.

A Church for All Seasons
The situation we’re in is actually good for the church. Losing earthly power and the corruption that comes with it forces us to re-focus on the purity of our faith. We should turn our attention to BEING the church. We need to develop our distinctly ‘Christian’ culture. We need to learn our own history. We need to return to a more sacramental form of liturgical worship. We need to fast. We need to practice church discipline. We need to let our goodness be our primary witness.

The Idea of a Christian Village
If our faith is going to survive, our homes must become mini-monasteries. We need to say NO to the world in our homes. Our kids need to see actual proof of our NO to the world and YES to Christ. We must govern who are children spend time with. Christian fellowship should be routine (outside of church gatherings). And Christians should talk about Christian things. The church should be center of a family’s social life. In all this, though, neither family nor community should be allowed to become an idol.

Education as Christian Formation
We’ve been negligent, as a church, to realize the importance of education. Christians should pull their children from public schools and enroll them in some form of classical Christian education (most Christians schools aren’t even good enough). Education must inform the student of where we have come from (the past is SO important!) and transform the student into a devoted follower of Christ.

Preparing for Hard Labor
Christians, more and more, are going to be excluded from certain occupations because of their refusal to set aside their faith. In many cases, we will end up doing different kinds of work. It’ll be hard labor, but thankfully, work and worship go hand in hand. We need to think creatively, start new business, and support one another financially. We should see our work as a calling.

Eros and the New Christian Counterculture
Our culture has misused the gift of sex and this misuse is destructive. Sex is designed for marriage between one man and one woman. We’ve allowed the culture to influence our children without putting up much of a fight. We need to speak up about sex. Surprisingly, monasteries have much to teach us about sex. They teach us that it can be ordered. Rightly ordered sex-lives have always been a distinguishing mark of true Christianity.

Man and the Machine
Our technologies are changing us (literally, it changes our brains). Technology is a liturgy. It trains us to privilege what is new and innovative over what is old and familiar, thus destroying tradition. The internet, for all its worth, has come to us at great cost. We need to create space for silence, take digital Sabbaths, and reconnect with the real world. We need to strictly guard our children and churches from negative use of technology.

Conclusion
The Western Church is in great danger. This danger isn’t left-wing politics or radical Islam. The danger comes from the liberal secular order itself. We have to leave this order. There is no strategy to save it. We must head for the hills and begin again. We must create (actually, rediscover) a parallel order. This order must be built on love.
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Re: The Benedict Option

Postby jasonmodar » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:36 pm

Thanks for taking the time to give us the synopsis, Matt. Some of what's in this book I have already thought about implementing or have already begun to implement in my life. It also sounds NOTHING like what its critics have made it out to be. I'll definitely be reading this at some point.
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Re: The Benedict Option

Postby john6809 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:09 pm

Thanks Matt. I read the book about six months ago and I'd say your summary is accurate. I'm looking forward to your review. I enjoyed the book. Didn't agree with all of it but the basic premise struck a chord with me and I'm interested in hearing the comments of others who read it.


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