The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher
A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation

53%

10 Critic Reviews

But disclaimers aside, he persis­tently views the church and the culture through a lens of linear decline. Com­muni­tarianism is displaced by rank individualism; traditional restraints steadily crumble until nothing remains and anything goes.
-https://www.christiancentury.org

Synopsis

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Already the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade." —David Brooks

In this controversial bestseller, Rod Dreher calls on American Christians to prepare for the coming Dark Age by embracing an ancient Christian way of life. 
 
From the inside, American churches have been hollowed out by the departure of young people and by an insipid pseudo–Christianity. From the outside, they are beset by challenges to religious liberty in a rapidly secularizing culture. Keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House may have bought a brief reprieve from the state’s assault, but it will not stop the West’s slide into decadence and dissolution.
 
Rod Dreher argues that the way forward is actu­ally the way back—all the way to St. Benedict of Nur­sia. This sixth-century monk, horrified by the moral chaos following Rome’s fall, retreated to the forest and created a new way of life for Christians. He built enduring communities based on principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer. His spiritual centers of hope were strongholds of light throughout the Dark Ages, and saved not just Christianity but Western civilization.
 
Today, a new form of barbarism reigns. Many believers are blind to it, and their churches are too weak to resist. Politics offers little help in this spiritual crisis. What is needed is the Benedict Option, a strategy that draws on the authority of Scripture and the wisdom of the ancient church. The goal: to embrace exile from mainstream culture and construct a resilient counterculture.
 
The Benedict Option is both manifesto and rallying cry for Christians who, if they are not to be conquered, must learn how to fight on culture war battlefields like none the West has seen for fifteen hundred years. It's for all mere Chris­tians—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox—who can read the signs of the times. Neither false optimism nor fatalistic despair will do. Only faith, hope, and love, embodied in a renewed church, can sustain believers in the dark age that has overtaken us. These are the days for building strong arks for the long journey across a sea of night.
 

About Rod Dreher

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Rod Dreher has been an editorial writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News, a film critic for the New York Post and currently writes for The American Conservative. He currently lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana with his wife Julie and his three children. This is his second book; his first was Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party).
 
Published March 14, 2017 by Sentinel. 269 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 02 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Benedict Option
All: 10 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 7

Huffington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Ronald A. Lindsay on May 04 2017

Given Dreher’s bold claims, one might expect the book to provide some compelling arguments showing why contemporary society is so hostile to Christians. It doesn’t.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by David Brooks on Mar 14 2017

...my friend Rod Dreher, whose new book, “The Benedict Option,” is already the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.

Read Full Review of The Benedict Option: A Strate... | See more reviews from NY Times

Patheos

Below average
Reviewed by Kassia on May 08 2017

...there is something worse than watching The Room while hungover, and it’s reading Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option stone cold sober. It’s a truly baffling work, one part extended blog post, one part tone-deaf culture war manifesto, and all parts an embarrassing display of a writer high as a kite on his own supply.

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Patheos

Good
Reviewed by Taylor S. Brown on Mar 28 2017

I like The Benedict Option. It is a much needed call to many American Christians that the current socio-cultural and political orders are not their friends. It reminds us...that (to quote Matt. 10:22) we as orthodox Christians “will be hated by all” on account of Christ’s name.

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Patheos

Below average
Reviewed by Fr. Stephanos Pedrano on Feb 25 2017

At various points in his article, Dreher shows awareness that the innovation he proposes can result in unhealthy, unwise, even vicious distortion or disorder within groups striving to create a way of life along the lines of his proposed option.

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The Aquila Report

Good
Reviewed by L. John Van Til on May 21 2017

“The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in A Post-Christian Nation” is a very thought-provoking study, bubbling with interesting words and quotable phrases.

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American Magazine

Below average
Reviewed by Patrick Gilger, S.J. on Mar 16 2017

It ought to come as no surprise that the book fails to satisfy. The Benedict Option is, after all, a rejection the both liberal and conservative political projects; the former because it rejects the values of the left, the latter because it believes the right has already been defeated.

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Charisma News

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Brown on Mar 17 2017

Thus I embrace the strong challenges put forth in The Benedict Option, and I affirm many of the strategies. At the same time, I feel that now, more than ever, is the time for us to engage...in confronting the culture, with pastors and Christian leaders taking the lead.

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https://www.christiancentury.org

Above average
Reviewed by Steve Thorngate on May 08 2017

But disclaimers aside, he persis­tently views the church and the culture through a lens of linear decline. Com­muni­tarianism is displaced by rank individualism; traditional restraints steadily crumble until nothing remains and anything goes.

Read Full Review of The Benedict Option: A Strate...

https://www.firstthings.com

Above average
Reviewed by David Koyzis on May 16 2017

Dreher’s book is a bracing read, reminding us that the life in Christ is a communal life and that it often requires us to live against the grain of the larger culture. However, his tract for the times is not without defects...

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