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Benedict Option-ing Your School

Lindsey Brigham speculates as to what it would mean for classical schools, and classical homeschools, to adopt a Benedict Option approach. Excerpt:

Thus, the Benedict Option means recognizing that Christian faith and practice will no longer be inculcated in our children, let alone our neighbors, by the surrounding culture; that, to the contrary, cultural products will invariably undermine Christian faith and practice; and that it is a waste of effort to try to whip the culture back into Christian shape. It means, then, that Christians will dramatically diminish their consumption of popular culture and focus instead on exploring their heritage of Christian culture and finding fresh ways to embody it—in music, art, lifestyles, words, habits. It means that they will do this whatever the political climate and their representation in it happen to be. It means, in sum, that the particulars of the Benedict Option are the old monastic principles of Order, Stability, Discipline, Community, and Hospitality set within creedal Christianity.

Yes, and:

The following is a (very) initial list of ideas for applying the Benedict Option in real schools/home schools. It can be extended and examined in the comments:

== Talking as much about virtues and faithful habits as we do about skills and truthful knowledge

== Shaping students as creators rather than consumers by giving them opportunities to make music, art, literature, and media, in addition to the more typical classical focus on analyzing these things

== Practicing regular and special fasting in our own lives—from food, but also from the radio, or iTunes, or NetFlix, or smartphones, or Internet

== Challenging our students to join our fasts

== Avoiding the temptations to make class material “relevant” by frequent analogies to pop culture

Whole thing here. Her list is longer, but if you’re interested, please check out the entire post for more.

What could you add to the list?

I love Brigham’s blog post. This is exactly the kind of creative brainstorming we’re going to need to do with each other.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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