5 Reactions to 'The Benedict Option'

"The book's main argument is that Christians of various denominations must create a counterculture and leave a mainstream American culture that is increasingly hostile to biblical Christianity."

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Larry Nelson's picture


A comprehensive counterculture option already exists.

A child can be born into a household with Christian parents.  Attend a Christian daycare and/or preschool.  Attend a K-12 Christian school or be homeschooled.  Go off to a Christian college.  Upon graduation, go to work at a church or in some other ministry option.  Listen to Christian radio, television, and read only Christian books.  Center one's social life around only church-sponsored events, and establish friendships only with other believers.  Avoid joining any secular organizations. 

Note: I'm not saying any of the things above are inherently bad; I am saying that there is (in their aggregate) a potential for Christians to neglect & avoid meaningful, missional interaction with the world, if we're not careful. 

One doesn't have to literally reside in a monastery to lead a cloistered life.

Bert Perry's picture

One of the things that, per Larry's comment, I have to be careful of as a homeschool dad is to avoid the attitude that the world is going to contaminate me and my family.  The attitude creeps in like a snake.....so at a certain point, there are those who ENCOURAGE fundagelical monasticism.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

JBL's picture

Nothing in the CP article describes the goal of creating a distinct Christian counter culture, but I wonder why wouldn't Dreher consider the Amish or conservative Mennonites as groups that have already tried his concept?  They decided to move to a location where they could obey God without pressure from other churches or from the government.

The prevalence of people seeking asylum from coerced religious practice throughout the Americas explains our current cherishing of freedom of religion and separation of church and state.  

But it seems like the danger of going this route is that Biblical knowledge and cultural tradition inevitably become indistinguishable to those who separate.  It's almost like Christians need interaction with worldly and ungodly pressures to help them remain biblically balanced and that extreme separation and isolation ends up leading to extreme imbalance, not increased obedience or sanctification.


John B. Lee