HOE MOET ONS LEEF IN ‘N
POST-CHRISTELIKE SAMELEWING ?
In aansluiting by ‘n vorige skrywe van prof. B. Floor, Die Koninkryk van God en die aardse ryke, wil ek elke leser sterk aanbeveel om die volgende boekbespreking te volg:
Book review: The Benedict Option, Rod Dreher
In die bogenoemde artikel van prof. Floor, het ek in die inleiding geskryf:
“Wat is die Koninkryk en wat is die Koninkryk se verhouding tot hierdie wêreld. Is daar absoluut geen verhouding nie (wêreldmyding – die anabaptistiese neiging?) of is daar totale gelykstelling (wêreldgelykvormigheid – die social gospel?)
Die kerk van Christus, kinders van die Here, het nog altyd geworstel met implikasies van die koninkryk wat in Jesus Christus reeds gekom het in hierdie wêreld, maar nie van hierdie wêreld is nie (Joh.17:14-17).”
Douglas Wilson bespreek Dreher se boek met hierdie onderliggende vraag, hoe moet ons as gelowiges lewe in ‘n wêreld wat al meer post-Christelik en anti-Christelik raak.
Die boek is natuurlik gemik op die Weste oor die algemeen, nie net die Amerikaanse situasie nie. Hier is Wilson se inleidende woorde by sy eerste deel van die boekbespreking:
Too his credit, Rod Dreher sees that things around us are pretty bad. To the extent that this book provokes Christians into that mindset called “not kidding ourselves anymore,” it is all to the good.
Let’s get the grim report first—“has now ended in defeat for Christian conservatives” (Loc. 83), “the light of Christianity is flickering out all over the West” (Loc. 132), “this may not be the end of the world, but it is the end of a world” (Loc. 135), “the swift and relentless currents of secularism” (Loc. 142), “the Waterloo of religious conservatism” (Loc. 147), “nobody but the most deluded of the old-school Religious Right believes that this cultural revolution can be turned back” (Loc. 192), “unwinnable political battles” (Loc. 199), and “if the demographic trends continue, our churches will soon be empty” (Loc. 157).
We should be grateful to Dreher for the wake-up call.
Things really are bad.
But what kind of bad?
Bad news could include the fact that you have bone cancer, or it could alternatively mention the fact that an asteroid is going to land on your house. Both of these things are sufficiently bad, but the remedial measures will look completely different in each case. And this means that before taking remedial measures, you have to decide what kind of bad you are up against. If it is going to be the asteroid, there will be no point standing on your front porch with a bottle of chemo pills.
Dreher appears not to have settled this crucial question in his mind, and unfortunately it affects his entire Benedict thesis. This is what I mean. In the ancient world, Christians were up against it in the first century, when Rome began her first persecution of the Christians, and they were up against it in the sixth century, when Benedict laid down his rule. But in the first case, they were up against a hegemonic, swollen, persecuting world power, and in the latter case they were up against the disarray and ruin that had resulted from the collapse of that civilization.
There is a difference, in other words, between a totalitarian surveillance state and a failed state. Now if I were seeking to prepare Christians for the coming hardscrabble times, it would matter whether I was preparing Christians in Beijing for another crack-down from the commies, or Christians in Somalia, preparing for a period of anarchistic foment and unrest. The difference in response is the difference between the catacombs and the cloister.
And the difficulty here is that Dreher has apparently not made up his mind. The Benedict illustration indicates that he believes that Christians will have to be rebuilding true community in the midst of sixth century rubble. But he says other things that would place us in the first century, with pagan persecutors at the height of their insolence and pride.
Hier is die reeks tot dusver, bestudeer en sien ook al die insiggewende opmerkings by die verskillende artikels (u is ook welkom om hier onder by proregno opmerkings by te voeg):
So I would like to invite you to read through The Benedict Option with me. For the most part we will go a chapter at a time, although this first time out we will take the Introduction and Chapter One together. For various reasons this is an important book, and how we respond to … [Read more…]
The second chapter of Dreher’s The Benedict Option is really quite good overall. I found myself agreeing with much of it, and agreeing also with the various qualifications Dreher made as he went along. What he does in this chapter is give a brief intellectual history of the … [Read more…]
“Retreat to Commitment” Writ Large
In the next chapter, Rod Dreher outlines a modern description of and rationale for the Benedictine order. And in the particulars, he says a number of wise and good things. Dreher sees one of the most essential things. “We need to embed ourselves in stable communities of faith” … [Read more…]
he next chapter in The Benedict Option is well written, and makes many pertinent observations. A lot of true and necessary things are said, largely concerning the need for older doctrine and need for a liturgical worship that shapes cultures. But there is still a problem, and it … [Read more…]
In the next chapter of The Benedict Option, Dreher makes a number of shrewd observations about the role of community in resisting the encroachments of the Leviathan state. What Hillary Clinton famously said in promotion of that devouring Leviathan turns out actually to be true in … [Read more…]
The Classical Christian Option
In his next chapter, Rod Dreher spends a good bit of time singing a song I am very familiar with, and he says many good things. The cultural key is education, and what Dreher urges is, from one standpoint, very heartening. “This is why we have to focus tightly and without … [Read more…]
“Already the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.” —David Brooks
In this controversial bestseller, Rod Dreher calls on American Christians to prepare for the coming Dark Age by embracing an ancient Christian way of life.
From the inside, American churches have been hollowed out by the departure of young people and by an insipid pseudo–Christianity. From the outside, they are beset by challenges to religious liberty in a rapidly secularizing culture. Keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House may have bought a brief reprieve from the state’s assault, but it will not stop the West’s slide into decadence and dissolution.
Rod Dreher argues that the way forward is actually the way back—all the way to St. Benedict of Nursia. This sixth-century monk, horrified by the moral chaos following Rome’s fall, retreated to the forest and created a new way of life for Christians. He built enduring communities based on principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer. His spiritual centers of hope were strongholds of light throughout the Dark Ages, and saved not just Christianity but Western civilization.
Today, a new form of barbarism reigns. Many believers are blind to it, and their churches are too weak to resist. Politics offers little help in this spiritual crisis. What is needed is the Benedict Option, a strategy that draws on the authority of Scripture and the wisdom of the ancient church. The goal: to embrace exile from mainstream culture and construct a resilient counterculture.
The Benedict Option is both manifesto and rallying cry for Christians who, if they are not to be conquered, must learn how to fight on culture war battlefields like none the West has seen for fifteen hundred years. It’s for all mere Christians—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox—who can read the signs of the times. Neither false optimism nor fatalistic despair will do. Only faith, hope, and love, embodied in a renewed church, can sustain believers in the dark age that has overtaken us. These are the days for building strong arks for the long journey across a sea of night.