May 12, 2017
In his first years as a Christian, American writer and journalist Rod Dreher received an invitation from a Catholic colleague to volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Dreher took her up, spending the day prepping food and cleaning the kitchen. But at the end of the day he concluded that the project wasn’t for him — and that his time was likely better spent reading theology books. Over the next dozen years, Dreher left the Catholic Church, his cynicism over covering the sex abuse trials the primary driver.
“I realised upon reflection, that if I had spent as much time working with my hands in the soup kitchen as I did reading, my faith might have been stronger,” said Dreher. “Instead, my faith had remained something that was mostly cerebral and it did not have the strength to withstand being put to the test.”
Dreher’s latest book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, shares a similar fascination with what constitutes a robust faith. The now-Orthodox Christian argues that that decline of religiosity and the rise of secularism are threatening the faith’s vitality in the West. What can rescue the church? Perhaps, “strategic withdrawal,” as modelled by the life of the Fifth-Century monk Benedict of Nursia, who pondered these questions during the fall of the Roman Empire. “Benedict asked God what he should do amongst the decadence and chaos of the empire’s collapse,” said Dreher. “He founded a monastic order that over the next few centuries proved vital to preserving the faith in the West and laying the groundwork for the rebirth of Western civilisation.”
Dreher recently spoke with Eternity about what he blames for the erosion of the Western church, whether Christians should attempt to change culture from the highest echelons of power, and what will catalyse the next revival.
... Read the rest at Eternity.