Smith and the Benedict Option

I haven’t seen much in Awaiting the King (by James K. A. Smith) that deals with Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” aside from one or two “so-called Benedict Option” lines.  So I was a little surprised to see a longer mention of it in this recently-released video that serves as a kind of “promo” for the book.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition, for sure: cozying up to political power on one end and running from it in fear on the other.  I’m glad to see Smith acknowledging the close connection between his approach and Dreher’s.  And while I do have a better sense now of where Smith’s frustration with the Option comes from, I can’t help but think that there’s a difference between fear and facing reality.  I think Dreher’s assumption is that most Christian communities are no where near ready for the kind of engagement Smith thinks is possible.  We need some rehabilitation to get there.  And, ironically enough, Smith’s work is one way of helping that rehabilitation along.

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