Thursday, July 02, 2015

Bruce Frohnen's Rejection of the Benedict Option

“There Is No Benedict Option” By Bruce Frohnen

And this gives us reason to take actions that many might consider to constitute a tactical retreat—e.g., those who have children in public schools should take them out and those with students in parochial schools must be prepared to fight, hard, for their education. But voting, writing, speaking, and marching must continue and increase. The press continues to ignore hundreds of thousands who march for the unborn every year. The answer must be for more of us to march and to stand in solidarity with those whom the new system seeks to ruin financially and spiritually. We may well “lose” in the short run by the standards of this world.

What separates Frohen from Dreher? I think both would (or should) agree that a re-appropriation of the order of charity is necessary for Christians, and the Benedict Option should be understood as a further development of Christians taking the order of charity seriously. Is "political action," as Frohnen describes it here, a precept of Christianity? I do not think so, especially as it assumes that the current political system is legitimate or effective. Does the Benedict Option exclude the possibility of undertaking civic action? No -- we can collaborate with non-Christians of good will who seek to uphold traditional mores and identity in order to strengthen whatever community we have with them. Our response must begin with that, and it is very possible that it may end there or not even get  very far. But if a political response requires the building and exertion of power, then Christians need to understand how to build up power, and participating in a system that seeks to diffuse that power is counter-effective.

"Patrick Henry" looks at other options: The Benedict Option (via The Orthosphere)

Related:
What Does Community Mean?
On intentional communities:
Community is tangible; community is cohesive; community brings people together in ways that allow them to do things they couldn’t have done in isolation.

Within this context, this is how I would define an IC:

An IC has a shared purpose and set of values; the people who live in it are economically entwined to some degree; there is a definition for membership in the community and a process for becoming a member.

What of natural communities, which should share some of the same characteristics? Would liberals let traditional ones live in peace? I think not.

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