This in my inbox tonight:
Thank you for writing The Benedict Option. It offers a sober wake up call to Christians in the West.
I’m writing in response to your recent article “Life in post-Christian Britain” as a 33 year old reformed Christian in the UK. There are two points I would like to make.
We have an extremely powerful LGBT movement in the UK spearheaded by “Stonewall” who call themselves a human rights charity but are a LGBT pressure group. I recently went to a public lecture by their CEO (Ruth Hunt) who was open that they have sought to work in non-democratic means, seeking to get legislation passed which they knew would not have public approval at the time. They are extremely intelligent, focused and well resourced and know how to apply pressure to politicians. They have also secured a place in the church of England, writing anti-bullying guidance for CofE schools. Unbelievable.
At the presentation I attended, Ruth said that one major pocket of disapproval for LGBT lifestyles is the Pentecostal church. They know that they will not be able to take on the leadership of these communities directly so their strategy for this is to target teenage girls in these communities through outreach programs, to try and persuade them that LGBT lifestyles are an acceptable alternative. These girls can then be advocates for LGBT “rights” in their communities. They have run pilot programs and are now moving to roll out. These are smart, smart people who are prepared to play a long game.
My second point is that I am extremely rare in being concerned about Christian education. Most evangelicals I know think it is selfish, and possible sinful, to take children out of state education because of the evangelistic opportunities one can have at the school gate. It is also argued that children can’t be kept out of the world indefinitely. None of this makes sense. There is a deep, deep naiveté amongst most Christians and when you consider what we are up against, we are going to be eaten for breakfast. I just find a deep seated objection to thinking the way you do in the Benedict Option but with no clear rationale as to why.
That said, there are a few Christian schools which have been set up in the UK in the last few years which are excellent, however most evangelicals I speak to are suspicious about them.
One often hears US Evangelicals claiming the same thing about public schools. My guess is that it’s far, far more likely that the Evangelicals kids are going to get “evangelized” by the popular culture than the other way around. I also wonder if some parents who could afford these schools for their kids aren’t simply rationalizing the fact that they would rather get the free education than make a sacrifice to pay for them.
Anyway, yes, the reader is correct: I’ve been doing this long enough to where I can see that many, maybe most, objections from conservative Christians to the Benedict Option don’t make a lot of sense.