To hear Rod Dreher tell it, Christians are a moment away from being systematically eliminated from American society.
He alleges that the secularizing forces of modernity, especially the sexual revolution, have forced true believers to the margins of social life.
Dreher, a thoughtful conservative writer, believes the church must turn inward to form communities, teach their children, and resist a culture co-opted by radical LGBT activists.
Dreher has promoted this idea for years and his new book,”The Benedict Option,” debuted this week at #7 on The New York Times’ best-seller list. Named for the sixth-century monastic (not the pope emeritus), the Benedict Option calls for Christians to strategically withdraw from a hopelessly corrupted and hostile society.
Dreher supposes secular elites and nominal religious folk will bid the real Christians good riddance, waving a final farewell to the last opponents of our modern-day Gomorrah.
But I, for one, would miss them.
After wandering in the wilderness for decades, traditionalist religious people are making meaningful contributions to public discourse. This is not only true of Dreher himself, but also of conservative Christian critics of the Benedict Option who are disinclined to pull back.
Compared with the cartoonish fundamentalists and out-of-touch bishops that characterized religious conservatism a couple of generations ago, today’s evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox leaders are adept in engaging the wider world.
In terms of intellectual and cultural achievement, we are living through something of a golden age for religious conservatives contributing meaningfully to politics and even arts and letters.
Conservative religionists bolster our social fabric with relatively larger families, strong communities, civic engagement, charitable giving and volunteerism. It would be better for everyone if they became less insular — not more so.
I’m so committed to keeping conservative believers in our schools, neighborhoods, governments and institutions that I propose making Dreher’s Benedict Option unnecessary.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service