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Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of Saint Benedict

We Cannot Give What We Do Not Have

New York City, NY

On March 16 of this year, hundreds gathered at the Union League Club in midtown Manhattan for a public conversation about the future of Christianity in the West. The occasion was the launch of Rod Dreher’s new book The Benedict Option, a New York Times bestseller dubbed by David Brooks as “the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.” The event, co-hosted by Plough, First Things, and the American Conservative, brought together a varied group for a lively panel discussion.

In the face of an increasingly hostile culture, how should Christians approach participation in public life? What kinds of communities can foster true discipleship? How can we raise our children to follow Jesus? These are some of the questions raised by the book and addressed by the panelists.

Dreher began by laying out the ideas in the book and addressing common criticisms. Four panelists responded: Ross Douthat of the New York Times, Michael Wear, a former Obama White House staffer, Jacqueline C. Rivers of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, and Randall Gauger, a Bruderhof bishop.

Media organizations from The Federalist to the New Yorker covered the event. And the conversation hasn’t stopped: see the item titled “City and Kingdom New York” to learn about a new initiative co-sponsored by Plough that aims to continue to address these crucial issues.

Watch a recording of the event below. A recording is also available on our Facebook page.

Watch a recording of the Benedict Option event with Rod Dreher.