Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ is your response to the challenges facing Christianity if you've become grumpy and world-averse, not because of "Low T" (No, really, he tells you himself, and see the beard? He's a lumberjack), but because you share the traits and values of a latent autistic-spectrum middle-aged man:
I told my wife the other day that as I’ve aged this last few years (I’m 48), I have seen latent autistic-spectrum tendencies within myself manifest more acutely. The other day I went into a restaurant in town to pick up some take-out food, and didn’t realize till I walked out how strangely I had behaved. I kept my eyes on my smartphone as I walked in, and barely looked up the whole time I sat at the counter and waited. I didn’t want to meet anybody’s gaze, because … why? Why was I so anxious?
This is happening more and more. I used to be very social, but I find now that solitude is what I crave most of all. I don’t think I’m seeking solitude from a position of strength, but from a position of weakness. I find it increasingly exhausting to be out and about, and I’m not sure why. I know I fought depression a couple of years ago, but I don’t think that’s what this is. You know what I think it is? Living most of my life online.
While we here at EQE may have been the first to point out that the ontology of Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ perfectly mirrors and recapitulates his peculiar psychology - Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ is nothing more or less than a visionary world 3D-printed from Rod Dreher's mind - we are hardly the only ones. Commenters on his own blog are saying the same thing to his face:
But I have to ask this, perhaps as the devil’s advocate. Is it possible that this aspect of your inner life is also partially behind your advocacy of the Benedict Option? I personally have always been attracted to the notion of a life of study and contemplation with like-minded fellows, cut off from the larger outer world which is going to hell in a handbasket, much as I imagine the monasteries of Europe functioned as the Dark Ages came crashing down upon the carcass of the Roman Empire. As appealing as I find this—I would love to spend time boning up on Latin and Greek—I always run up against the wall of the Gospels. As far as I can tell, Jesus called upon his followers to go forth and engage with the world, not withdraw from it, even in times of persecution—turning the other cheek and all that. We are supposed to be busy loving our neighbors, who are essentially defined as those as far removed from us as possible in society. How does something so fundamental become reconciled with the Benedict Option? And perhaps your personal inclination to live “not in the real world”?
However, if you're a woman in one of Rod's communes of petulant retreat, here's how you can probably expect to be treated if you don't tread the prescribed line:
May 15, 2015 at 6:23 pm
“… but I honestly don’t know if it will come down to actual persecution,…”
In Para 1 you are qualifying your persuecution …
“Or, less kindly, it’s about telling the unwilling woman to lay back and enjoy it, because it’s really not so bad once you get used to it.”
… Para 4, you are comparing your situation to being raped.
Something very odd and insulting happened here.
[nfr: my, what a delicate flower. If you read in the newspaper someone accusing big business of "raping the environment," do you fall to pieces? -- rd]
The whole point of pursuing Christian religious liberty is to achieve Christian religious liberty, not to end up in a snark prison ruled by self-appointed cult patriarchs like Rod Dreher.
If you no choice but to share the traits and values of a grumpy, petulant, misogynistic latent autistic-spectrum middle-aged man, God bless you and keep you, and best of luck following the leadership of someone who's latest book on Dante is about the dark wood of consequences he found himself in when he tried to retreat to his home town and conduct a trial run of his Benedict Option™ among his family and friends, the people closest to him and who know him best.
However, if you don't share or can overcome those stunting traits which have led Rod Dreher on a spectacular career journey of bad reasoning and even worse choices, why not choose the Red Pill of reality instead?
Instead of the Blue Pill of Rod Dreher's solipsistic, latent-autistic Benedict Option™, choose the Red Pill instead, the Murray Option.
After all, our response to the challenges faced by Christians today should actually lead us to true religious liberty - and sooner, not later. It's not supposed to be just one more thing about the failing ways in which a Rod Dreher tries to apprehend the real world.