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Breathing with Benedict

Alan Jacobs points to the gist of the Benedict Option:

God bless Rod Dreher for continuing to post critiques of his Benedict Option. But I still haven’t seen a critique that is genuinely to the point — they all seem to be responding to things that Rod hasn’t said and to be emphasizing their commitment to the undisputed claim that Christians need to be active in the world in order to bear witness. Well, sure. What Christian would say otherwise?

But here’s the key thing. What do they always tell you before the plane takes off? Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. When Christians stride confidently out to change the world without having first taken care to be fully shaped and formed by the Christian account of things, they (a) have very little that’s distinctive to offer others and (b) are themselves easily swayed by thoroughly non-Christian ways of thinking and acting, with results we have recently had thoroughly documented for us.

Ultimately, whatever specific form the Benedict Option takes, this is what it’s about: securing our own oxygen mask first before attempting to assist others.

Yes. Well said! We latter-day Christians are trying to help without having our own oxygen masks secured.

By the way, posting will be light today. I’m about to leave for Washington. I will be on The World Over with Raymond Arroyo, tonight on EWTN. We’ll be talking Dante, but I think we will also talk a bit about the Benedict Option. Tune in at 8EDT/7CDT.

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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