We’ve spent some time in the last few weeks talking about the Benedict Option, a subject near and dear to Rod Dreher’s heart. He admits that he has not hammered out a complete definition of the idea and he is meeting with leaders and laity from Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Evangelical churches to try and get reactions to the proposal, all in preparation for a book on the subject that he is now in the process of writing.
One question that has to be raised in this discussion is this: Why do we need to be discussing any sort of departure or “option” at all? Why can’t we just keep on doing what we’ve been doing?
Okay. Fair question. Dreher has spent a good bit of ink in addressing this in the last few months in his blog. I should have been keeping notes on every time he set something out clearly that might be a justification for his proposal. Should have, but didn’t. But in one of today’s posts (Dreher writes faster than I can read, sometimes) he takes on a serious issue and suggests that this kind of culture that we now live in is what makes the notion of building up our churches to create havens for young people seeking marriage partners necessary.
Here is a quote:
When I was in Nashville last week at the Southern Baptist event, someone said that we, the church, need to be there to take in the walking wounded from the sexual revolution. He’s right. But see, the kind of thing that this Vanity Fair piece talks about goes right to the core of what the Benedict Option needs to be. We have to do what we can to raise kids who will not succumb to Tinder culture. This is going to require radical steps. A reader of this blog said something to the effect of the Benedict Option cannot be about the church doing what we’ve been doing all along, except pushing even harder for our kids to save sex until marriage. This Tinder article is a perfect illustration of why she is right. The culture itself has changed to allow for a sexual free-for-all, but the most important aspect of this story is the role technology plays in driving the culture. Any Benedict Option that fails to deal honestly and forcefully with our relationship to technology and popular culture will fail.
If you are intrigued, read the whole thing: Tinder Mercenaries.