Friday, July 17, 2015
For a good laugh, fire up Google and type in the phrase "Self-indulgent sentimental, whiny drivel that stretches analogies till they snap".
Or if you are lazy, just click here.
Then check out the top link.
I had a very of-the-moment experience the other night at bedtime in my hotel room. After reading about the unmitigated horror of Planned Parenthood’s customized cannibalizing of fetal body parts, I toggled over to the ESPN site to watch the propaganda video the network made to set up its awarding Caitlyn Jenner its Arthur Ashe Courage Prize.
Rod Dreher's strategic cultural engagement
I encourage you to watch the clip, which is about 13 minutes long.
Hey, thanks, Rod, really, but I think I'll pass. But, whatever...you go right ahead.
Maybe this is one of those yet-to-be-specified aspects of the Benedict Option's strategic cultural engagement, to function like your dad wrapping the cover of Popular Mechanics around a Playboy magazine, or, perhaps more aptly, like the congressperson viewing hour upon hour of pornography - to be absolutely certain they get the criticism right.
No doubt trannies are probably way more complicated, thus surely requiring more immediate and repeated Benedict Option study.
Who among us hasn't had some very of-the-moment experiences at bedtime - when we were twelve or so - probably not over Bruce Jenner, although I can't speak for the ladies out there, but most of us grew out of that.
These folks. Wrong church, wrong color. But mainly, too busy with an older option of their own.
Incidentally, I frequently refer to Rod Dreher as the "prophet of the Benedict Option", but it seems Rod himself has already given someone that title.
This guy. Right church, right color, where the Benedict Option porridge is just right.
Added: I failed to mention that the most important sentence in this post previously linked above is this, the final one, because of its timelessness and universal applicability
Things are becoming ever clearer, by the day.
Give me a moment just to savor it.
Things are becoming ever clearer, by the day.
There's literally no one in any situation one could not deliver that line to without it having the same depth and impact that it would in any other one might randomly choose.
This is why I follow Rod Dreher, because, just as one is at a loss for what to say to the mailman, he delivers.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
If you're discussing Rod Dreher's newest parasitic project and doing anything other than mocking or criticizing it, even in the most irenic, elliptical terms, you're not following Christ Jesus, you're following this guy,
|L. Rod Drebbard, #HashtagChristian|
your very own L. Rod Drebbard, founder of that newest online cult sensation: #BenedictOption
Congratulations! You're a trendy new #HashtagChristian.
Rod Dreher isn't going to lead you to "fix the churches"; this is an indoor kitty who would be hard pressed to fix a flat tire. And, frankly, any problem you perceive probably isn't with your church, the problem is more than likely with you passively trying to consume your church and your religion as if it were a reality show on your TV set or another cat video on your computer.
You know, the way you passively and thoughtlessly consume Rod Dreher as your new spiritual trail guide.
Wise up. There's already a complete, 2,000-year-old history of Who to follow and how to do it. One that doesn't need fixing.
You could even Google it.
Warning: Reflexive Jack Handey reference imminent:
"Go, Bob, go!" yelled one of the generals. "Give me that" said the big-guy general as he took the microphone away.
Thanks for obliging me.
Father Richard Heilman has co-opted the discussion about the "Benedict Option" to make his own points about how to re-evangelize the culture. He calls what is missing, or at least weaker, in our society the "Grid of Grace". He provides concrete examples, and includes quotes around the phrase "Benedict Option" when he references it in the body of the article. So good for him. His conclusion interweaves nicely with my Family Option suggestion.
These are the ones who have their homes adorned with such things as crucifixes and pictures of the Holy Family; these are the ones whose prayer life is alive with the many practices and devotions we inherited from mighty saints before us. These are the ones who talk openly about God to family and friends on a regular basis. These are the ones who cannot leave home without rosary in hand, as they depend upon the power of such things as Holy Water and Blessed Salt and Benedict Medals. These are the ones who frequent Confession, understanding that a collection of small sins leaves them prone to commit the bigger ones. These are the ones who dedicate their lives and the lives of their family to the mission(s) of their parish. These are the ones who truly live “God fearing” lives, as every decision they make is weighed against whether it is pleasing to God, as they fear ever disappointing God, who they love so much!
Once we restore the home and parishes as powerhouses of grace, we will then see these souls pulsating with the very life of God – grace – and then, we will see them hungry, once again, for “the more” of their faith. Hunger emerges from a soul filled with supernatural grace!
This is the real “Benedict Option.”
The link he provides to the "Seven Daily Habits" is worth a look.
It might be worth thinking of this "Grid of Grace" as something which every Christian in some way can contribute to, not just draw from. So I can receive sanctifying grace from receiving the sacraments, then I pray for the intention's of the Pope and others in the church and for the needs of the world, etc. and that leads to a distribution of actual grace a subset of which is sometimes called prevenient grace which allows for more sanctifying grace to be received. It would be nice to have a flow-chart for this. Feel free to make your own, or you can pray that the Holy Spirit would help me get over my laziness and do it myself.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
I posted this two years ago today. It was in the midst of the famous Topix flare-up. It may be a good idea for anyone new to the Benedict Option discussion to review this. Or anyone wishing to meditate further on the Platonic ideal of chickenness.
Especially note Jonah Goldberg's remarks on the archived link from that post. I believe they apply to the Benedict Option just as well as they describe Crunchy Conservatism.
I don't believe Crunchy Conservatism exists. I think it is Rod's invention. I don't think there is any body of thought, serious or otherwise, that is "crunchy conservative." I think Rod points to things he agrees with or likes and calls it crunchy and conservative when often they are one or the other. I think Rod's taxonomy is entirely artificial. And I think the word "crunchy" and the props used to support it are not only superficial, but they smack of precisely the kind of branding and marketing outlook Rod decries. Yes, yes, yes: There are people out there worried about the ravages of the free market and modernity who are conservative. Some of them dig organic food and open-toed-shoes. Some of them do not. I do not see what is to be gained by dividing people who agree on important things by concentrating on unimportant things.
Try it out, unless you fear that you may become a dreaded Benedict Option Denialist if you read it. But it is a good question to ask. Is the Benedict Option proposal "dividing people who agree on important things by concentrating on unimportant things"?
We have at least two Anonymous commenters over here at the moment. And I can't really blame them, I mean if I were them I wouldn't want to be caught hanging out with me. But I'm pretty sure their not me. Pretty sure that is. Does that make sense?
Anyway I think to clear this whole thing up, I think a tag at the bottom of each comment post would help. One of you two has been great at fetching old things from different places on the web, or pointing out new pertinent articles. I think of you as my archivist. So you could sign things "Archivist", whoever you are. Just an idea.
Or... you can be creative and call yourself Hemingway. Or Bruce or Caitlyn or whatever.
Monday, July 13, 2015
It has already corrupted his employer, The American Conservative. Who or what will it corrupt next?
Just so you know, like Spain's Francisco Franco TAC blogger Noah Millman's "Three More Benedict Option Questions", thoughtfully critical of TAC star Rod Dreher's so-called "Benedict Option", is still dead. As I already wrote here, one can still read the Google cached version here, and Pauli has also archived it on EQE here.
What I want to recap for those innocents not fully up on the story, however, is how we got to this point, and what that journey implies for those choosing to involve themselves on anything Rod Dreher might consider the wrong side of his Benedict Option.
On July 7, while Rod Dreher was vacationing in Italy with his male comrades, his TAC colleague Noah Millman wrote and published "Three More Benedict Option Questions", in so doing linking several times to New York Times Catholic columnist Ross Douthat, a name Rod Dreher drops at every opportunity he gets. One might therefore think Douthat himself would be as interested in the twists and turns of this tale as anyone.
Shortly thereafter, Millman's piece vanished as if it had never been. The next day, July 8, Rod Dreher published in its place "Critics of the Benedict Option", a post in which, by interviewing himself, he and he alone picked the questions, the criticisms, and the answers. As recently as today, Dreher still describes himself as a professional journalist.
So what happened to Millman's piece?
Rod Dreher, professional journalist, first claimed no knowledge of how a post by a colleague critiquing the subject he hopes to write his next book about got spiked between the day it was written and the day Dreher himself wrote a post replacing it, then claimed he never realized that Millman's post had just been written, then pointed his readers to the same dead link.
As Pauli first posted here, commenter Virgil T. Morant alerted us to this statement from TAC implicitly referring to the missing Millman piece critical of Dreher's Benedict Option:
United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Wall Street Journal aren’t the only organizations that have encountered technical turbulence lately: on Tuesday an item was incorrectly published on Noah Millman’s blog due to an error in our system. The problem has now been fixed, and we apologize to Noah and to our readers for the mix-up
In the process of explaining why the Millman piece disappeared forever, TAC also deleted it from its own explanation. The Millman piece critical of Dreher's Benedict Option - did I mention you can read it here and here? - had officially been scrubbed from ever officially having existed at TAC at all.
TAC is run by long time publisher Wick Allison, someone who knows quite well what draws in readers' interest. A discussion of his star blogger Rod Dreher's current signature theme, the Benedict Option, between that star and another masthead blogger within the same organization would deliver all of the readers possibly interested in either person's opinions and arguments directly to the TAC bottom line.
There was no rational publishing reason, therefore, to spike the Millman piece in the first place and, even if the Millman piece had mysteriously become unpublished because of "technical turbulence", not to republish it as soon as possible, preferably with a response from Rod Dreher.
This is what The American Conservative does with the money it solicits on a tax-deductible basis from its contributors: it publishes interactive thought pieces between its masthead bloggers that engage thought.
Until now. Now it serves as Rod Dreher's personal publicist.
From the time Ron Unz was driven out of TAC, it has been common knowledge that Rod Dreher has been TAC's only real lifeline to the daily online views necessary to sustain it as a going concern. Now the power Dreher apparently wields at TAC has become great enough to get the views of anyone who disagrees with him peremptorily deleted.
This is neither American, nor Conservative. This is Hollywood-diva-throwing-a-fit journalism, Hillary Clinton journalism. True Politburo journalism or Mafia journalism would of course require a subject of more weight and substance than Rod Dreher's Benedict Option, but the thuggish reflex is identical to all, including Dreher himself.
Nevertheless, like a baker finding out the consequences of not baking a gay marriage cake, if you are a small enough religious blogger or outfit and you do not sufficiently suck up to Rod Dreher in your discussion of his Benedict Option, you have every right to be apprehensive that he or those he is able to influence, like TAC, will attempt to roll over you the way they rolled over Noah Millman in order to unilaterally control the Benedict Option narrative, the way Dreher himself just tightened the allowable narrative within his own blog at the end here.
If you are truly having trouble with our contemporary culture and the modern age and for some unfathomable reason cannot already find all the resources you need within your own faith and church, why would you ever think of yoking your trust and faith to the Christian blogosphere's version of Hillary Clinton?
I don't know which event came first, Rod Dreher ranting about how we're not to discuss so-called Benedict Option anymore, or John Zmirak penning his third article on the so-called Benedict Option, which he has obviously been warming up for. Someone else can figure that out if they wish. Here's the lead-off teaser:
Rod Dreher's meme has become The Blob, engorging all it encounters, never assuming a shape you can nail down and consider rationally.
It's funny to me how the Catholics I've encountered who support the so-called Benedict Option all do claim to know what it is already. People like Diane's Facebook friend, for example, always explains that it's homeschooling, plus going to a parish with a respectful liturgy (no balloons, kangaroos or jellos, for example), plus generally keeping your kids protected from bad influences. They are so confident they know what it is in fact that they fully support it 100% and there is no way they need to buy and read a book about it.
But really—what about the BO isn't funny? Here's Zmirak's lead paragraph:
I wrote last week on the “Benedict Option,” a nebulous cultural strategy which its popularizer, Rod Dreher, describes as an “inchoate phenomenon in which Christians adopt a more consciously countercultural stance towards our post-Christian mainstream culture.” It’s named after St. Benedict, the father of Western monasticism, but Dreher isn’t recommending monasticism, or anything else that’s easy to pin down and examine. The concept’s nebulousness, I’ve come to realize, is not a bug but a feature. It allows Dreher an almost infinite freedom to imply whatever he wishes, without committing himself to a single logical or testable assertion from which he cannot backtrack when it’s contested. Nice work if you can get it.
It's also a more serious matter that Dreher has become a go-to guy for the liberal media on the topic of Christians in the public square:
Does Dreher counsel retreat from the public square, from civic life? It’s an urgent question because our First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is under sustained attack from the highest levels of government, the media and even many corporations. The clear-sighted, principled conservative Bruce Frohnen and I each took Dreher to task for waving the white flag in Time magazine just days after the Supreme Court’s same-sex ‘marriage’ decision. Dreher’s piece began with the boldface text: “Voting Republican and other failed culture war strategies are not going to save us now.”
So is dumping the “failed” strategy of voting Republican part of the Benedict Option? Time’s editors thought that this was what Dreher meant, which is why they used that headline — the author’s own words, excerpted from inside the piece. In fact, that call for surrender is surely why Time ran his column in the first place, in the same week that the magazine published an impassioned call for stripping churches of their tax exemptions. Time is not Christianity Today; it shows little interest in offering helpful essays for Christians in living out the gospel.
Then Zmirak embarks on an examination of just which conservatives it could possibly be who believe that all we need to do is vote Republican and Yay! we're saved!
Who is he talking about? Nominal Christians who rarely ever attend church and live as pagans? But half of them don’t vote; more than half of the remaining half don’t vote Republican; and the half of the half who do almost certainly aren’t doing it to save Christendom. So who are his invisible villains?
Dreher certainly cannot mean the Rev. James Robison, the founder of The Stream, who speaks about politics in defense of religious and economic liberty, marriage and the sanctity of life. Robison also runs a ministry that has led hundreds of thousands of people to Christ while his organization’s unflagging work has helped missionaries dig thousands of wells for poor people across the developing world.
Dreher also can’t be talking about the Catholic Church, which lavishes millions yearly on educating non-Catholic poor children in schools across the country, runs non-profit hospitals that refuse to perform abortions, and sends medical missionaries across the world.
And he’s not referring to the Southern Baptist Convention, which pours millions into disaster relief around the planet, helping Christians in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans and Buddhists in places like Nepal.
"Who is he talking about?" Thank you, Mr. Zmirak. I've long asked that question and the answer is brought to mind immediately: straw men. This question along with my oft-made statement that I don't know what he's talking about stands in contrast with those aforementioned Catholics who swear they already know what the BO is. And it is hilarious to me that his staunchest defenders are the least likely to be interested in a book about what they are already doing.
Maybe I'm beating this point to hard, or maybe you're just confused. In either case, it's possible that this literary reference will help (Courtesy of Keith).
He concludes by basically echoing my sentiments here. I'm hoping that we haven't heard the last from John Zmirak on the so-called Benedict Option. It really takes a constant pounding of logic and clear-thinking to talk some people down from ledges which they were lured onto by sweet-sounding words penned by crafty wordsmiths.