“A church that looks and talks and sounds just like the world has no reason to exist.”
For many Christians, society today is moving farther away from having a moral standard very quickly each day. What is the best way to live a Christian life in a secular society? Is it best to try and fit in and fight the system politically? Or could it be best to withdraw and live in small, like-minded communities and affect the culture right around you?
In The Benedict Option, Rod Dreher thinks through these questions and proposes a option where Christians model their ways of life after a 6th century monk. St. Benedict of Nursia retreated and created a Christian community in the midst of the fall of Rome during the Dark Ages. While Dreher doesn’t push for Christians to withdraw from society as completely as the monk did, he does advocate for creating communities of like-minded people who can lean on each other and share the same values.
Dreher reviews the history of St. Benedict and how our society has come to a place where Christian values aren’t mainstream anymore. He then calls for Christians to look at politics, church, communities and work differently. He believes Christians should focus on having an influence on their local community and culture than the politics in Washington, D.C. The church should stay true to traditions and Scripture and not try to appeal to the current culture. Christians should consider living close together and close to the churches they attend to create a faith community. Dreher also recommends Christians think hard about what kind of jobs they study and train for as some in the future may call for them to either go against their faith or quit (like doctors and possible euthanasia).
Overall, I found the book very interesting with some valid points. I do believe the church should be something different than the society that is around it. I think the chapter about jobs is something parents of high schoolers should read and discuss. In case religious liberty does become more threatened in this country, the long-term consequences of the type of job a person has needs to be thought about.
I would highly recommend this book to any Christian in America in high school or older. I think it would be good to read with someone else as it brings up a lot of ideas that would be good for discussion. This book has caused me to think and I’m still mulling it over, which I think is a good thing.