I feel like I have been on panels having arguments about the Benedict Option for as long as I have been a journalist. So it is wonderful to actually have a book to tell people to go buy and argue about and disagree with.
I should say that usually when I have been on those panels, there is a debate like the one that Rod alluded to in his remarks, where somebody says, “Well, this is all very well and good, but you surely can’t be arguing that we should just head for the hills.” Then Rod tears his beard and rips off his glasses and says, “I’m not saying we should head for the hills!” And it goes on from there.
I won’t play the role of that interlocutor. But I’ll go half way and say that my take on The Benedict Option is that Rod is right even if he is wrong.
By which I mean that – you know, this was a very, very gloomy portrait that Rod just painted of the future of Christianity in the West and particularly in the United States. Those of you who occasionally read our parish newspaper know that I am not noted for my sunny optimism. Yet even I occasionally, listening to Rod, reading his blog, and reading the pages of this very fine book, do sometimes creak my eyebrow up a little bit and say, “Well, is it really so bad as all that?”