Thursday, April 20, 2017
Orthodox Rod Dreher's "The Benedict Option" Promoted by Christianity Today
The Benedict Option
The culture wars and Dominionism is growing extreme. In the first video, Dreher, tells us Christians are in "exile" from our pagan secular culture, and the best option for Christians who want to live "lives of virtue" is to withdraw and form their own "communities". I find this idea of structured community, interesting given that spontaneous community in America especially among mainstream culture has failed. In the churches I have visited at least locally, I see no more spontaneous community. Everything is planned, formal and authority from the top down. Be careful of what sounds good but is not.
The church system is rapidly going Communitarian, as someone who has needed "charity" at times in the form of church food pantries and co-ops, the churches are intertwining with governmental, corporate and other groups. At a recent food co-op, we had a visiting nurse and a local job's program person show up to the meeting with the distribution of food. Among the church helpers, is this false, that if we "become more responsible" or "work harder" our poverty will end. There is no discussion of the economic realities of American life today. Even the odd class blindness that most poor people unless disabled are already working seems to have escaped our middle class and above benefactors, as they seem to think mowing some lawns or fast food work is going to rescue people from poverty. They don't realize most in the room are already working for minimum wage. They are selling everything that isn't nailed down already. Economic despair and the realities of our lives remains suppressed. There's little free speech.
I told my husband, "while we will go when we need to help" and desire to stay polite, we have to be sure to protect our privacy. These are people who will not understand an older man who can't stand for more then 10 minutes due to vein problems, and his work needs. The idea of the "Religious experts" getting together to form "Communities of virtue" scares me. Imagine the "rules", the "pious" would unleash among their set apart exiles.
The idea of some removed "Christian" community as a bulwark against the unbelieving hordes sounds like the dystopian novel "Handmaid's Tale", not only will they have the subjugated women, they will have the Catholic inspired neo-feudalism to go along with it.
Do you remember Fanatic for Jesus's other blog, "The Communitarian Trap"? The church system is rapidly going Communitarian. The idea of "Christian" communes or "Utopias" such as what the Shakers set up is nothing new, but you wonder about new marriages between government and churches and neo-feudal set-ups like what is proposed in Dreher's book.
The Communitarian Trap defined Communitarianism thusly:
"Communitarianism is a global agenda toward world government. It uses a coalition of government, business, and church who shore up the social, moral, and political environment, while slowly robbing the freedom of the participants. A Communitarian adopts and advocates concepts such as a cooperative spirit of community, selfless commitment to community service, and the duty to work for “the common good.” It's tied from the U.N. directly to Agenda 21, the Third Way, Common Purpose, laws, community objectives, Total Quality Management, education, food delivery systems, and the collectivist thinking pattern of the global community. It uses the Hegelian Dialectic to create the synthesis needed to develop the New World Order - and ultimately the totalitarian utopia of the Elite's New Atlantis.
In the first video, Dreher advocates for Christians to separate from mainstream American culture, and tells us that only "culture" can save Christianity. The many verses that warn against the "love of this world" from scripture contradict his philosophies that are very much of this world. This is advanced Domininionism. The message being that Christians must rule, and build their own kingdoms on this earth. Around the 10:39 mark he quotes an early church historian Robert Lewis Wilkin.."that apologetics and intellection cannot save Christianity only culture can. By culture I do not mean high culture, Box B high mass Caravaggio as a colleague of St Matthew I mean the total harvest of thinking and feeling to use TS Eliot's phrase the pattern of inherited meanings and sensibilities encoded in rituals, laws, languages and practices and stories that can order and inspire the behavior thoughts and inspirations of a Christian people." That just sounds like a nice way to advertise some thought control.
In the second video, Fox news interviews Dreher. He mentions the "catastrophic" departure of millennials from churches and Christianity. This actually happened with Generation X. To be frank, most of the young, have become far beyond disgusted with the "culture wars" especially in a culture where our economic disenfranchisement has become so acute. The reality is many of the young have rejected Christianity as a whole. The culture wars actually helped. I was planning an article to do soon, where I predict a "church" bubble bursting like the college bubble. People who can't afford rent, aren't going to be tithing. Millennials are not having children to fill the pews with.
I can already see on the local level, the churches remaining strongly middle class and above, while poorer people while we may be in the church to get some food, they are not part of the church. I am someone who has left the church system but for the average poor person, they know they do not belong and stay out of the system by default. What happens when mostly more affluent Baby Boomers die off? That said Dreher will ensure more millennials racing for the door, especially with his authoritarian vision of religious life. Of course I always wonder if the race for the one world church door, will be implemented via severe economic collapse or war in America, but as things work now, the churches are not addressing the needs of the young.
Is Communitarianism or a Commune in Your Future?
Videos three and four are interesting to me because it shows a Bruderhof young woman, advocating for the Benedict Option. Some may ask me, what's so interesting about that? I knew about the Bruderhof, because I am someone who has read quite extensively about intentional communities. They are a religious community where people live in common and their beliefs are very akin to the Hutterites in America. Intentional communities are defined by Wikipedia: "An intentional community is a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle.". The Bruderhof is a religious one, they share housing, meals and a very close and social lifestyle.
While I know the new world order, is going to use arranged communities and intentional communities [aka today's modern communes], I have had a personal interest in that way of life. Modern American life for many and especially the poor has become very empty. One ponders escape to a better place. In my case, I wondered if any true independents and spontaneous associations existed outside the "communitarian" system. I even had fantasies about finding a place that would accept someone with severe chronic health problems but my husband's response to these alternative lifestyles was an unequivocable, "NO, I am not going to live with a thousand brothers and sisters".
I fantasized about finding a loving community to join where someone of my Christian views would be welcomed, but I never acted on this, I was too sick and disabled. I also noticed someone who renounced Catholicism and the ecumenical vision for Christianity probably wouldn't be too welcomed either. Why am I sharing this? Well in lonely American culture, these new ways of life seem VERY ATTRACTIVE and were/are to me personally. I believe as society goes into more economic and other chaos, selling these ideas will not be hard. As the economy in America crumbles and life for many becomes more hard, people are going to be seeking "new solutions".
Sadly human reality usually steers towards wickedness, this is NOT new stuff that Dreher is selling, American Utopianism especially of the "Christian flavor" took off in the 19th century, with the Shakers leading the charge. Back then these communities also were run like "communes" with new social rules and ways of life. Sadly a majority went into major corruption with false leaders, religious and spiritual abuse, and extreme doctrines. The Shakers died out renouncing all sex and marriage. There was a lot of abuse with wolves in sheep's clothing claiming power and control over people and many grew into out and out cults.
I even looked myself into co-housing, because life in America especially for a childless older couple without a family can feel very isolating but for some reason, they all seem to be relegated to the wealthy and for those of a certain ideological bent. I looked at "Christian" communities and had a fascination with them, on an intellectual level, so yes I knew about the Bruderhof. It does not surprise me that one of their own, is supporting Dreher's book or that Dreher visited one Bruderhof community in America called Fox Hill. [see video #3] Perhaps there is a planned marriage of "Christian" intentional communities with Dreher's vision of set apart Christian villages and communities. Here one sees the ecumenical movement in action as Orthodox meets Ana-baptist.
The Benedict Option has become a best-selling book and made the cover of Christianity Today. Definitely these view-points are being pushed by some powerful interests. The rooms full of wealthy academics and others are on display in the videos. The question now is to ask Why? What are they planning?
I asked in 2013, "Is Communitarianism or a Commune in your future?" In 2013, the blogger on The Communitarian Trap, warned about the efforts to turn Christians into an army of workers for the new United Nations sustainability and social justice efforts:
The Hands and Feet of Christ and the Identifying Marks of a Communitarian Social Justice Agenda.
This is definitely one direction the one world religion is building, with different denominations joining together. Rick Warren got this ball rolling. Evangelicals now take no issue with a vision of Christian life based on a Catholic religious order.