I was pleased to see that you addressed my Benedict Option idea. My suspicion is that there is less distance between your views and mine than you may think. I want to clarify that in my own thinking about the Benedict Option, I am not advocating an Amish-style withdrawal from the world (though I respect those who feel called to it, and wish them well). That will not be the path for most of us, nor, in my view, should it be. I am calling for more of a conscious “exile in place” for the church – that is, for the kind of Christians I call small-O orthodox Christians. Some people may need to physically move for this kind of community, but in most cases (I think) it will be a matter of deepening one’s commitments to one’s own tradition and the church community in which it is embodied, and in thickening the bonds among the community’s members. This requires a clear understanding that our first loyalty is to the church, not to American empire.... People are struggling to know what to do. I have kids of my own, and I am not content to sit back and accept what the empire has planned for them. I want to encourage and cultivate faithful Christian resistance. —Rod Dreher
On Tom Sine’s “Live Like You Give a Damn,” Summer 2016 digital edition:
Churches were filled by silent promises: join our church and we promise never to make you uncomfortable, never to ask you to really change, never to bring you close to the people and issues you fear, never to ask you to get comfortable with dying – certainly not dying daily to self.... We need to be truthful about how we filled all those edifices, and accept that the false advertising has come home to roost. —Rev. Margaret G. Crandall, Durham, NC
Forget “sacred” or “secular” – if it is an action for justice, it is of God (perhaps unless it involves violence, but I am not sure about that – lots of violence in the Old Testament). Christians should be involved in the struggle for justice alongside whomever will work with them. Maybe like Gideon’s army, God only needs a few Christians in the developed world and the church is growing where it is needed. —Michael Smathers, Crossville, TN
On Norann Voll’s “Why I Love to Wear a Head Covering,” Summer 2016:
The clothes you choose to wear do not necessarily make you closer to Christ. The Bible has to be read with discernment and the customs do not all apply today. It was common for women in the Middle East at that time to cover their hair. It was also OK to keep slaves! What woman today would think it inappropriate to wear pearls, apply makeup, or wear attractive clothes? —Annette Young, London, UK
I am a liberal Christian and actively support all women trying to throw off cultural patriarchy to embrace their freedom in Christ. However, this was a wonderfully written article. It was irenic and informative. The author’s use of logic and scripture never seemed like a backdoor way to shame others who disagree. This is the way brothers and sisters should talk about their differences. —David Taylor
Image from WikiArt (public domain).