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Today In Baptist Ben-Oppery

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary/Boyce College (Screen shot from sbts.edu)


Hey folks, my third and fourth Gheens lectures on the Benedict Option will be livestreamed from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, this morning at 10am Eastern, and this afternoon at 1pm Eastern. Here’s a link to the livestream. [1] I’ll be talking about politics in the Benedict Option this morning, and this afternoon, about building a “monastery of the heart” to practice inner stillness in a time of frenzy.

By the way, here are some nice endorsements for The Benedict Option, which you can pre-order here for March 14 delivery: [2]

“I’m more missionary than monastery, but I think every Christian should read this book. Rod Dreher is brilliant, prophetic, and wise. Even if you don’t agree with everything in this book, there are warnings here to heed, and habits here to practice.”
—Russell Moore, president, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

“A terrific book: provocative in its content, shrewd in its insights, vivid and engaging in its style. The strength of The Benedict Option is not just its analysis of our culture’s developing problems but its outline of practical ways Christians can survive and thrive in a dramatically different America. This is an invaluable tool for understanding our times and acting as faithful believers.”
—Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

“This is the kind of book I am going to use to get the thoughtful people in my congregation reading and discussing. It is going to be helpful to the very people who have to live on the front line.”
—Carl R. Trueman, Westminster [PA] Theological Seminary; writer for First Things

“An insightful and optimistic plan of action for Christians who are starting to realize just how hostile American culture is to their faith.”
—Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, senior editor, The Federalist

“Deeply convicting and motivating. This book will be a grounding force for the Church in the decades ahead.”
—Gabe Lyons, author of Good Faith; president of Q Ideas


A Southern Baptist theologian who has read an advance copy tells me that if every Evangelical pastor read this book, it could be a game-changer. I’m really grateful for this enthusiasm from my Evangelical friends, and of course from Archbishop Chaput. I wrote the book to address all small-o orthodox Christians, be they Catholic, Protestant, or Eastern Orthodox.

9 Comments (Open | Close)

9 Comments To "Today In Baptist Ben-Oppery"

#1 Comment By Kelly M. On February 8, 2017 @ 8:56 am

Rod, the SBTS website says your second lecture today is at 2p, not 1p as you say in this post. Which is it?

[NFR: Must be 2pm, then. Sorry. — RD]

#2 Comment By Brad in Ky On February 8, 2017 @ 9:53 am

A Baptist minister and a Catholic Bishop endorse an Orthodox Christian’s book about living the Christian life in the coming dark ages.

And the Eightenment was a bad thing?

#3 Comment By don salmon On February 8, 2017 @ 10:13 am

Is it really that Americans – particularly those under 40 – are hostile to Christianity, or hostile to the perversion of Christianity as exemplified by, say, the Southern Baptists?

I say this as a New York City transplant who lived in Greenville, SC for 8 years and had nearly weekly conversations with lively, literate, articulate students from Bob Jones University.

To a person, I’ve never met a fundamentalist Christian who understands what Paul meant in Acts II when he spoke of God as “He in whom we live and move and have our being.”

I spoke with a recovering Baptist (there are many self-described folks in Greenville, and from what they tell me, around the South) preacher about this. He told me that his theological training involved the assertion of an unbridgeable gulf between God and creation.

I led him through a brief period of silent contemplation, taking less than a minute, involving careful witnessing of what our minds take to be inseparable barriers between our mind “in” here and the world “out” there. When he opened his eyes, he said he understood the verse for the first time.

I think the fundamental problem in the world today is the fundamaterialism which underlies scientism as much as all fundamentalist religions, Christian or otherwise.

Iain McGilchrist spent 20 years researching neuroscientific literature on hemispheric differences, and described the very essence of the problem of the modern era is the linear, divisive, left-mode of attention – selective attention, to be precise – which should be the “Emissary” to the “Master” – the intuitive, holistic attention – or “peripheral awareness, to be precise – has taken over. Hence, the title of McGilchrist’s book, “The Master and His Emissary.”

Jean Gebser describes the modern era as functioning in the “deficient mode” of the mental structure of consciousness that emerged at the end of the mythic era some 2500 years ago, in Greece, China, India and elsewhere.

The ultimate result is nihilism, as we see with “alternative facts.”

But something new is emerging, a new consciousness structure other than the mental. De Chardin, Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser, Pitirim Sorokin and others foresaw the emergence of an integral consciousness, which can “see” Unity amidst the diversity.

The current “My nation first” vs globalization wars are pathological manifestations of the emerging integral consciousness.


#4 Comment By Eric Mader On February 8, 2017 @ 10:17 am

Congrats on those early reader comments! From folks with serious clout indeed. It looks like this book is going to put down deep roots and provoke needed dialogue. Now all the people who’ve been reducing the Ben Op to “Oh, he’s just saying we should hide out in caves” will have to assess the wider argument.

Looking forward to it.

#5 Comment By midtown On February 8, 2017 @ 10:57 am

Just finished watching the 10 am lecture. Very well done! You helped this evangelical to understand the Benedict Option better. I think Southern Baptists/evangelicals will have no substantial problems with what you are presenting.

#6 Comment By Christopher On February 8, 2017 @ 11:12 am

If you can, visit St. Michael’s (Antiochian) while you are in town. It was my home parish for a number of years and is an exceptional community. The Choir is truly magnificent.

#7 Comment By Pilgrim On February 8, 2017 @ 3:29 pm

I listened to the second, thank you for the link.
I have several times thought the African American church has much to teach followers of the Benediction Option.
Re Orthodox outreach to minority communities, I recently came across an interesting interview of Moses Berry, an Orthodox priest (at Unexpected Joy), about his family history in the South and his ministry there.
[5] is working on improving understanding.
Also, a few conversion stories I read mentioned the presence of icons of dark-skinned saints in the church as being instrumental in opening visitors’ eyes to the welcome there.

#8 Comment By Tim G On February 8, 2017 @ 6:03 pm

Rod, I appreciated listening/watching yesterday but couldn’t today. Are they going to put up a video? Would appreciate info when you have it.

Also, Don, although I’m not sure I fully understand the last part of your comment, the first part grabbed my attention. Speaking as a graduate of a fairly fundamentalist Baptist seminary, in a very different part of the country, I guess I was fortunate to have really good teaching regarding the immanence and transcendence of God, and especially the need to hold those in tension and equilibrium. That seems to be the issue at the heart of your comment.

I think that’s one of the hardest paradoxes to live with on a practical level, and I’m sure none of us ever get it right. I know I don’t! But I was actually mulling over that quote (from Acts 17, I think you mean) on a run this morning, wishing the “in Him moving” was a little easier. Although I don’t think that’s what Paul meant either!

Walking by faith is hard enough when guided by solid teaching. I’m always sad when I hear stories of incomplete or distorted teaching that results in “recovering Baptists” (or any other group).

#9 Comment By Grant W. On February 10, 2017 @ 2:38 pm

Rod, do you have the YouTube link for the second day? The Gheens lectures seem to be unlisted at YouTube, and it looks like yours haven’t been added to the lecture archive on the SBTS site yet.