Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Benedict Option: For Christians with Expanding Brains

I just keep coming up blank for anything to say about the Benedict Option. Everything there is to say has been said by others. Recently there's been great stuff from Keith and Sam Rocha. Going back a little further there's me in 2016 and me in 2015, etc. Oh, also Keith in 2015. And of course Bruce Frohnen's in 2015.

Oh wait, here's another good one I did in 2015.

Right now, all I have left to say about the Benedict Option can be summed up by use of the expanding brain meme.



PS - Here's a prophetic post from Keith from 2014. But... I mean, here's the whole list, have at it, man.

19 comments:

  1. My niece made her First Communion back in April, and the church was part scary/part depressing. A drum kit! A pretty young, blond, female cantor who sang everything with feelinz! No kneelers (although at least one woman got down on her knees, in the front row, anyway.) Touchy-feely songs with absolutely no actual meaning (one of the songs was something about how we are bathing in God's river of love, something, something)!

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    1. Barb, where was this? A lot depends on the diocese. I've been to churches like that in Louisville (where my husband is from), but the parishes here in NC are very different. The main thing you'll notice at our church's First Communion Mass is that most of the kids are Hispanic, and the girls are all wearing miniature wedding dresses. :D But the music is OK, and the homily is great. Our priest is an amazing homilist

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  2. A rural area near Youngstown, Ohio, called New Springfield. Only one girl was wearing a miniature wedding dress, the others were fancy but not quite wedding-dress fancy.

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  3. It seems as if not only the critics of Dreher's BO have run out of things to say about it. The book, as far as I can tell, has sunk like a stone. It made a big splash for all of one week on the NYT best seller list, probably fueled by phony think tank mass orders and the like. And, yeah, it did get widely reviewed in the Christian blogosphere, but mostly unfavorably or very, very reservedly favorably. But real people, outside of Dreher's sycophantic commentariat, actually shelling out their own money to buy Dreher's rehashed blog entries, childishly simplistic historical and philosophical scribblings, and canned accounts of pre existing groups that have no connection to the BO other than that Dreher has tried to co-opt them? Not so much.

    Nobody actually gives a damn about the BO. And Rod's pathetic attempts to tie each and every passing internet meme to it have fallen flat. The world is going on its merry way, and Rod can bray and screech all he likes, but no one is paying attention to his "The End is Near" BS.

    This is the way the BO ends, with neither a bang nor a whimper, but with silent indifference. Look for it only on the remainder tables.....

    Anon 61

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    1. Anon 61, I was kind of wondering about that. I almost never hear about the BO anymore. It seems to have passed its sell-by date quicker than a carton of milk left open on the kitchen counter.

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  4. "The Benedict of History versus The Benedict Option," by George Demacopoulos

    https://publicorthodoxy.org/2017/06/28/benedict-vs-the-benedict-option/

    Excerpt:

    "In this regard, it is noteworthy that Mr. Dreher seems to have ignored the famous Life of St. Benedict, which was written by St. Gregory the Great, a great ascetic teacher in his own right. From a close reading of the Life of St. Benedict, one learns not only that Benedictine communities had widespread interaction with the world outside of their monasteries but that the saint himself routinely engaged with the Roman secular elite and even with barbarian warlords who had little interest in Christianity."

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    1. Excellent excerpt!

      Moreover, Benedictine monasteries played a pivotal role in Preserving Western Civilization primarily because they were centers of education with considerable influence on their local communities -- NOT because they were secluded and shut off from everything around them. They weren't.

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    2. The Benedictine monasteries WERE centers of education and influence in the local community, and did engage with the civil and religious authorities.

      But the notion of "Preserving Western Civilization" is WAY overblown. It is well beyond my pay grade to comment on Alasdair MacIntyre's philosophical writings. But his apparent assumption, made a half century ago or more, that Western Civilization was in any danger of collapsing, and needed "preserving" in the late classical period, has not been shared by historians for quite some time now. The emphasis now is on the continuity between the late classical and early medieval periods. On the way the successor states to the Western Roman Empire preserved Roman law, institutions and culture. The term "Dark Ages," which Dreher uses willy nilly, is nowhere to be found in more recent scholarly writing. Dreher has gone so far as to claim, quite preposterously, that folks had "forgotten how to farm" in the wake of the fall of the Western Empire.

      The reality is that Christianity was the faith not only of the majority of the population of the Roman Empire, but also of the so called "barbarians" who put it to bed, and who forged their own kingdoms in it's wake. Christianity in general was thriving and expanding during the time of St. Benedict, and there was no danger whatsoever of it, or of Western Civilization, disappearing.

      So, Dreher is wrong on even more levels than is immediately apparent. His entire analogy is based on a gross and thoroughly outdated, not to mention pathetically juvenile and facile, understanding of history.

      Anon 61

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  5. Ideas run their course. Your blog was a welcome surprise for me to discover when I was Googling Dreher's name in a 'who is this guy' state of mind.

    I've noticed that many of the positive reviews on Amazon defend the man more so than the book. Critical reviews are greeted with 'did you read the book?' a challenge first made by Dreher, and now repeated by his echo chamber. Some of the glowing reviews sound like they were written by a friend or an agent, and show no knowledge of content at all. I've often felt like replying with the snarky question "Did you read the book?" But those challenges are only made to those whose reviews are negative, not positive. And his trashing of any commentary which reflects real knowledge of Church history is embarrassing to read.

    I have no doubt Dreher will continue to earn his living talking about religion. If his current topic peters out, he'll find another one, and maintain his B list celebrity status at public events, showing pictures of himself in front of hand hewn European limestone with food, and talk about his family in a humblebrag sort of way.

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  6. I forgot to sign my name, since it's not my name. The last from SecDem.

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  7. Here are a few things you would like to know. Today, Rod has finally addressed the Steve Scalise shooting in this post. Why People Hate The Media, Chapter MDCXIII.

    How many of those chapters do any of you think could be made about Dreher? Jonathan Carpenter

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  8. "When people are deaf, you have to shout."

    Can't resist quoting that assertion, from Rod Dreher's recent defense of the BenOp in today's TAC.
    SecDem

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    1. Because it's never, ever anything but deafness on the part of Rod's opponents, and Rod himself always hears perfectly. But seriously, whenever Rod repeats this I imagine him in the cliched comic scene in which the buffoon yells at someone who doesn't speak his language, because everyone knows they'll understand it if it's delivered at very high volume.

      Somenonymous or other

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  9. Dre-Rod getting taken to the woodshed. No wonder he's butthurt.

    https://juicyecumenism.com/2017/07/13/video-responding-benedict-option-event-ird/

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    1. "Did you read the book?" and "S/he obviously hasn't read the book" are taking on the ring of playground taunts.

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  10. "Did you think before you wrote your book?"

    "You obviously didn't think before you wrote your book."

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  11. I'm so fortunate to have visited dreher's blog for the first time in many months, even years, in time for this post from earlier today: "This exchange [totally random exchange that has nothing to do with following clause in sentence but he just can't keep it to himself any longer-ed.] made me think about the narrative in The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, and its sequel, How Dante Can Save Your Life. I have revisited those books in the past few weeks because I’m in discussions with a couple of different parties about making a TV dramatic series based on the books (primarily Little Way). Why the interest now, nearly five years after the first book appeared? It seems to me, based on conversations I’ve had, that Hollywood is trying to figure out what’s happening in the country."

    BWAHAHAHA

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    1. Imagine Rod having the chance to broadcast his grudge against his family on national TV. OTOH, the producers may have no interest in that angle. Heh. In any case, at least most TV ideas pitched to producers never get made, so there's that.

      On yet another hand, if the producers want to pander to the demographic whom they may consider at the center of "what's happening in this country," they could take Ruthie's and Ray's POV regarding Rod. So maybe Rod should be careful what he wishes for.

      - Some anon

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    2. dying to know if this info has hit the st. francisville grapevine yet. I hope the brother in law is keeping his blood pressure down, somehow.

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