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tv   The Benedict Option  CSPAN  April 1, 2017 10:02am-12:00pm EDT

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>> there are seats on the wings of the room who need a place to set. sit. you're welcome to see it of course. it is great to welcome everyone to this evening of conversation in discussion about our christian witness in the 21st century. the occasion is of course his new book on the benedict option. but before i introduce the imminent speaker i want to thank the cosponsors of this event. one of the sponsors is first things manganese -- magazine that i edit. and the other sponsor is plow and i would like to think peter munson for contributing so much for making this
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evening happen. it was really peter's idea to have a big event like this to mark the publication of this important book. i would also like to thank the folks at the american conservative where he is a senior editor and a tireless blogger. and as we all know. in fact right now he is posting the folks at the american conservative in the folks at plow and i would like to thank those of us for trying to think about how to move forward in very tumultuous times of a very deep change not just in the political culture but i think also there is a spiritual earthquake abroad in the west in our society. and were trying to think about
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what that really means and how to live faithfully in the current context. so the plow magazine is on everybody's chair in american conservative i believe is on everybody chair and there are subscription cards and those magazines ready for you to fill out. and because we are cheap we didn't provide that's not true. we didn't provide everybody a cop because we were assuming given like an audience like this of so many wonderful people we assumed you were subscribers already. if perchance years was lost in the mail we would be happy to provide you with a copy in the entryway as well as an opportunity to subscribe. enough of the promotion and sales pitch. it's really my honor to be able to introduce our speaker he is an accomplished author
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on little way. and how dante can save your life and then of course the book that we have before us for tonight the benedict option. i think more than an author he's really a teacher his blood is a place where not thousands but tens of thousands of people come regularly often daily to think about real questions that the only place probably online where you could be an eavesdropper or an active participant often people who make comments are responded to in his column and the ideas are developed more freely.
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charles taylor. serious ideas and serious people. where else can you go and had some dimension them perhaps even in the same posting. it's really an ongoing seminar for many people throughout the united states and people as are trained to think about how their fate should be lived in the present age. it's really tonight i would like to introduce roger dreher. in his remarks this evening which we follow by a panel discussion. to help us think about how to live as christians in the 21st century. it's my pleasure enjoining roger dreher.
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>> think you for that generous introduction. i'm here to say that anybody who buys a copy of the book on the way out will get an a. it's so great to be back in new york that's probably the happiest years of my life. i'm happy to see old friends here. a chance to say hello and friends from all over. it's a really important time they are small orthodox cushions. to come together and talk about what we do at this moment. the time we have. i want to thank so much the conservative response the benedict option for being
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alarmist the critics are right. i am alarmist about the state of our culture in our civilization. and the condition of the church within it. if you are a faithful christian and you're not alarmed i think you are feeling to read the signs of the times. i do not claim that the world is coming to an end no man knows the day or the hour what i am claiming indeed to me is that the world is coming to an end and that if christians don't take radical action in their own lives right now the faith that made western civilization will not survive for long into this civilizations quote post- christian base. a few years ago noted public intellectual set quote it is obligatory to compare today's situation with the decline of
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the roman empire. it still functions on the great historical framework. it went on to lament the collapse of the spiritual forces. when the era of a global throne that has been existent for nearly 2000 years says that the west is facing its greatest spiritual crisis since the fall of the western global empire. what are the signs of the times. they hardly need to point out a sense of mounting political crisis throughout our civilization. and mind you i just came in this afternoon and whether on the left of the right people are pretty anxious about the future.
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but signs of our spiritual depletion are impossible to deny. and if we are spiritually depleted i will recite to a litany of statistics but i will focus on a few that particular interest i think in secular europe the united states has long been thought of as a counterexample to the secularization pieces. that is no longer cannibal scholars the data now shows that the u.s. is on the same downward path to disbelief hiring i'd -- according to data from the pew research center one in 318 to 29-year-old americans have put religion aside if they ever picked it up in the first
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place. and those who do remain affiliated in some capacity with institutional churches had been formed by a pseudo- religion that resembles christian and any name only. noted sociologists call this moralistic therapeutic dm. they use the language and conceptual vocabulary of historical biblical christianity in fact it teaches feel-good jesus like philosophy perfectly suited to a consumer's individualist post- christian society that worships the self. smith and his research found as the de facto religion of most young americans today. smith found that among 18 to 23 years old only 40% said that their personal moral reliefs.
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only 40%. astonishing 61 percent of those emerging adults said that they have a moral problem at all with materialism and consumerism. and ended 30% expressed some qualms about consumerism but said it's not worth worrying about. they say smith and the team all that society is as a collection of autonomous individuals out to enjoy life. america has lived a long time off of the veneer partly necessitated by the cold war. they told me in the interview for the benedict option. that's all finally been stripped away by the combination of mass consumer capitalism and liberal individualism he said. the sociologist quite a phrase that perfectly captured the revolutionary spirit of our time and place.
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as we know it is characterized by a conscious break with the authority of the path and institutions. it describes the first stage. it have notably quickened from the path but it was still slow enough for most people to adjust. things still seemed more or less solid. but now we have moved into liquid a time in which the pace of change is so rapid that nothing no new institutions of no habits or customs has time to solidify. the most successful person is the one who has no allegiance blot --dash beyond himself. he can change loyalties and in belief at well. two suit his own preferences. and that world is there is no solid ground anymore. from a christian perspective i likened it to the great flood
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of the bible. all of the familiar landmarks of our faith are very quickly been submerged and slipped away. when i go to an evangelical college to talk about about the benedict option i'm often shocked should not be surprised but i am shocked i carried from professors who say that's a very few of their students even those that come out of christian homes and churches and schools they know so very little about the basic facts in the narrative of the christian faith. this flood cannot in my view be turned back. the best we can do is to construct arts which we can ride it out. make it across the dark sea of time to a future when we do find dryland and can start the rebuilding and receding in renewal. so what is the benedict option and what does it have to do with his tire scenario i paint.
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the term comes from the famous final paragraph of the 1981 book after virtue. in that book the philosopher explained how enlightenment overthrew the old source of moral order rooted in christianity in classical philosophy. but the enlightened and could alignment cannot produce an authoritative replacement for an interview it is reaching a point of reckoning. liberalism is not sufficient to do the necessary work of binding society together and give it its members purpose. in his book's conclusions mcintyre compared our present time to collapse. our wealth obscures for my eyes how fragile we are on the inside.
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some men and women of virtue quit trying to shore up the 16 order and focus on building new forms of community within they can live out the moral traditions very uncertain future. today we await a new and doubtless saint benedict. they are known today as the founder of the patron saint of europe. four years after the long lost emperor advocated. he was sent down to the city of rome as a pious young man to complete his education. what they saw their disgusted them. to see god's well for his life mentally before he died he found the 12 monasteries called the rule of saint benedict.
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it is a thin very plain pamphlet which he calls a school for the lord's service. as a book that sets out the order for living for the sake of trading monastics if you read this as i certainly had you maybe shocked by how plain it is. i really thought it was can be the mystical saints. you would never guess from reading the key role that this little book played in saving western civilization. they spread out all over europe. they taught them how to play -- pray but they to them how to grow things and make things skills i had been lost in the
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catastrophe that was in the fall the fall of rome. they kept alive the cultural memory of christian rome. because he took a they took a bow of stability until the end of their lives peasants would gather around as citadels of light in order in this way they were like art carried the faith and cultural memory across the stormy waters it all happened not because they had set out to make rome great again but because he sought to figure out how to best serve the lord in community. when every good thing that came after followed from the decision.
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i write about the snow today. i interviewed the monks there how the core values and practices can be applied to everyday christian life prayer, work hospitality. in the daily life all of these things work together and balance to lead monks into it sense of life-giving order who at the time of my visit last year they told me that the monastery in its life of christ focused prayer is a sign of contradiction to the modern world who told me the guardrails have disappeared we
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are so captured by the lights and emotions of modern life that we don't recognize the danger. the forces of dissolution are too great. we need to embed ourselves. and stable communities of faith. they're called to live in the world. not at all. we have to evangelize or we fail to fulfill the great commission. we fail to serve our lord. but all thoughts of total withdrawal out of your mind.
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we have to erect some virtual wall for the sake of the spiritual formation. outside culture is overwhelming. keep it lit anymore i have dinner when i was in washington with the great early church historian and member of the first things family. an essay he wrote in first things in 2004. about the loss of cultural memory. and how vitally important it is for the church today to tell itself its own story.
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they have read in the benedict option. we in the church should do. it's all there in the book. take that book and go out and do what it says there. and to get the endorsement from somebody i respected and admired her as admire as much as him is quite an honor. here is a paradox. of the church is going to be the blessing for the world that god means for it to be in the churches can have to spend more time away from the world deepening its commitment to god to scripture to the christian history and tradition into each other. we cannot get to the world what we do not had yes we should engage with the world but not at the expense of the fidelity in the sense of ourselves as a people set apart. let me use a couple of examples from the hebrew rival to illustrate what i mean.
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in jeremiah chapter 29 the lord speaks through a letter and tells us people to settle down in the city and to integrate into its life. he brought them into exile for his own purpose and he planned to deliver them one day but for the time being he wanted them to settle their but the lord also warns do not let profits deceive you. do not listen to the dreams that you encourage them to have. they are prophesying lies you in my name. in the exile community there were would be profits who get the jewish people exactly what they wanted. jeremiah though it was a true prophet of the lord. we might even say that because jeremiah lived outside the exile community in babylon he
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could hear the lord's voice more clearly. they have to figure out how to obey god's command to integrate into babylonian society want the same time not been assimilated. in the book of daniel we read the story of shadrach, me check and a bend to show -- a bendigo. those three men refused even on pain of death. as we know from the story the king threw them into a fiery furnace in the fire did not consume them. they restored it to their position. how did they live lives that were integrated. they were state officials but also at the same time developed develop such a
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strong faith that they were willing to lose everything even their own lives before the train their god by bowing down to that title. that is a question facing cushions today. we have to somehow walk a middle path between crystal -- fundamentalists and the accommodations who loved the world so much that they rationalize idle work. engaging in the culture is something we have to do but it must never become an excuse to bring the incense to caesar. it must never be availed. there must have been something about the daily lives in the daily practices in babylon that changed them spiritually
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so that when they were put to the ultimate test they passed. it has to be that way to us also. we are feeling badly. those numbers i said it earlier in the top tell a tale primarily of christian infidelity. if we don't change our way of living by way of praying we are necklace survive as a church. we will be assimilated. there is no middle way. in the benedict option i talk about the various ways that we can and should do this i walk -- i read about education in the workplace family and community in the way we use technology and the way we think and approach and sexuality. i do want to say a few words about one area that is on the minds of a lot of people right now. politics. as i was writing the book i bet almost everybody in this room i expected hillary
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clinton to win at the presidency. have that happened in the future of religious liberty would've been very bleak. it did not happen though. today i hear some conservative christians breathing a sigh of relief. don't believe it. not for one second. i'm as pleased as a supreme court justice nominee as anybody. we have not seen yet we may not see the executive order that we wanted to see from this president. nor do we see much enthusiasm in the republican congress to pass the religious liberty. the conservative christians may end up having been played for. by this administration. i desperately hope i'm wrong. but let's get serious. even if donald trump were estate. that is because this is far
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beyond the power of politics to do. if america had elected a cross between those two. we would still need that i was writing about that and addict option before the decision. it seemed to have shocked a lot of christians into realization about where we actually stand in this culture. if it did not exist we would still need the benedict option. the core problem we face is not gay people or liberal a democrat or democrats or muslim immigrants or anybody else. the core problem is a culture into civilization that has turned its back on christian orthodoxy. the problem is us. in the divine comedy for me one of the great cantors when they find themselves on the terrace of anger. and they tell them tells him
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he's come from tuscany and everybody is at each other's throats. what can we do. how can we turn it around marco looks at him and says the world is blind and you to come from the world. he goes on to tell the pilgrim and dante if you want to know how to change the world and turn things around start with yourself. look inside your own heart. because the problem starts right there. that is good advice for us. recovery and rebuilding of the world we have lost i think it's can be the work of centuries i believe that christians have to stay active conventional politics working as we are able for the common good and especially fighting to protect religious liberty but we cannot afford to make
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the same mistake as a prior generation of conservatives. they thought the problem was that american culture was fundamentally moral and they just could capture the offices we could restore the republic to its moral footing. they were wrong. the republicans kept winning. the fact that obscured the long steady loss of the culture. i think the benedict option should be local us in a small seed catholic at its scope. it's more important for us to strengthen churches and start schools in both of the local community than it is to short up the imperium. i want america to prosper but it is far more important to be a faithful christian than is to be a good american. the two should not conflict but when they do and i think they will more and more we've got to know on whose side we are on. do i worry about persecution to an extent yes.
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you cannot talked a lot professors or doctors or educators or others who are living on the frontline of that religious liberty debate and remain sanguine about its future. people who do not prepare those under their authority for that kind of future are failing in their duty. has i see the greater problem right now is a steady erosion of authentic christianity by the restlessness of individualism hedonism and consumerism. we have to also face the fact that in some quarters on our own conservative side we are seen the rise of an ungodly racism that we have to repudiate. if her to stay true to our faith i think organ had to listen to voices from outside the is authoritative basis -- voices and was especially the era of the fathers.
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how else are we to be able to tell the difference between those who speak comforting lies that we all want to hear and those who like jeremiah preach the prophetic word of god. we must beware of religious leaders that are contempt to be chaplains to the contemporary cultural order. when i visited his thriving orthodox campaign i said how do you guys do it. he said we invented nothing. we were only rediscovering a tradition that was locked away inside of an old box. we had forgotten. >> at the time of force forgetting. it is an in one sense a
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project of preserving the memory of what it to be christians. hope is memory plus desire. if we remember who we are the desire to make those memories live again with every reason to hope. the old one told me that if christian families and communities in the west if they do not do some form of the benedict option. their neck and a make it. thank you. we're going to bring the panel up.
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i have to turn things over -- to peter munson he was responsible for launching it which has a history two years ago. he took the initiative to make all this happen. and you can make this happen here. the great working together with rusty and the staff. and the staff of the american conservative. were very -- glad to be together tonight.
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take it and do it. i hope this is a very practiced oriented panel. i think what is really valuable in the book. is how practical a down to earth it is. i hope that's one thing you can focus on tonight. and welcome each of you starting from my right. here goes. he blogs and is the author of a number of books including most relevantly to our topic tonight bad religion how we became a nation of heretics. it is also a regular columnist.
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next to ross. focusing on the intersection of faith and politics. he directed faith outreach. one of the youngest white house staffers in modern america. with the efforts against human trafficking and the new book reclaiming hope lessons learned in the obama white house about the future faith in america just came out this year. welcome michael. the executive director of the seymour institute. that is dedicated to the pro-life and profamily movement within the black church both at home and abroad. and she holds a phd from harvard university where she was a doctoral fellow at the
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john f. kennedy school of development. welcome eugene. she cofounded the azusa community. she has been doing a lot of the work that we had been hearing about and she speaks life. next we hear is my brother raised in a farm family in minnesota. randall is a bishop of the health community movement. this a couple of months ago. if you need tips on kangaroo hunting. randy is your man. we will jump into the discussion tonight.
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they will give a response. and then jacqueline and randall will follow. we will see where it goes. it will be very exciting. thank you so much. i think i had been on panels. it's wonderful to actually have a book to go tell people to buy and argument. it's all very well and good. i'm not saying we should have to the hills.
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i will send go halfway and say that my take on that benedict option is this. even if he's wrong. this is a very gloomy portrait that they just painted with the future of christianity. those of you who occasionally read our parish newspaper no that i'm not noted for my wild sunny optimism. sometimes they creak the eyebrow up a little bit and say is it really so bad. as all of that. i generally had less confidence about all
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predictions about the future including that. extending that. the present trends into the future. we are at a place in the story of american christianity where we just see through a glass darkly. we can't know for certain if what were looking at when we look at the trends is a collapse just of cultural christianity. with the face that they never really held to begin with. that has some effect on the life of the church. it doesn't lead to the belgian style collapse. no really guys.
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we don't know if that's the scenario we are looking at or if we are looking at something more complete and sweeping. a lot of things with the great internet experiment. there is an un- known mobility about what the internet is doing in a the social life. what is doing to challenges in all these things that will become clear to us over the next 20 or 30 or 200 years. but they aren't clear are clear right now. in the same is true of interaction between the religious life and are unexpectedly unsettled politics in the west.
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the same is true of the religious action between advances of various other forms of technology. there are a long list of reasons why i'm just not certain if rod is right about where were going over all but insert mice i don't think it necessarily matters that much. where we are at right now right now is a place where many of the things he calls for they are necessary and useful. we would not be at this moment and politics. if you weren't living in a more fragmented individualistic and post communitarian landscape. we are living in a post- united states.
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down really to the 1960s even to the 1990s into thousands. and 2000's. the basic resilience of local community religious life denominational competition at the spur to bottom-up social order. there fragmented and falling apart. in that landscape it's a situation where trying to build resilient communities if you're part of the society for secular humanism. we can argue about that later. but building resilient communities may not be the answer but it is an incredibly important answer. to the challenges of our time. i talked about this a little
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bit in the column wrote this week. one of the ways i think about the use of the option. the extremism of some of the advocacy should hit home for some people. there are people who should read miley break the rules and talk about one of my fellow columnists. it. something to the effect that it sure seems like there are a lot of monks in this book. in one response that i have today is the one that i wrote to my column. as if to say the message of the book is not that everyone should become a monk it's that everyone from where they are perhaps should take one step in that direction and i think that is one important way to read the benedict option to say don't assume that you need to revolutionize the liturgy in your parish.
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for your kids out of whatever school they are in immediately. assume that you need to take one step for now i will finish by satan and the thing that occurred to me after writing that in my column was that well have we do have a surplus of monks in the united states. it would not necessarily be the worst thing that is filled with monks and said hey navy there something in there for me. my wife has becoming --'s for bit me to become a monk. that's for someone else. it will be important to be a part of the book launch this week.
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about islamic extremism. she went to a gathering of the christian democratic union party that she leads. well have too much islam with too little christianity we have too few discussions about the christian view of mankind. they should be with this moment as an opportunity to have a more robust conversation about the values that guide us in our judeo-christian traditions. 's it has been much discussed and defined for decades. the introduction that the book rights more than any quote in single think the practical relevance of actual obedience to christ with its increasing
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tendency to f and the size the action as a primary way to serve god and also accounts to the practical relevance of christian faith. an overall personal sanity and well-being. that they identify as christians in general do not had their lives rightly ordered and that this disorder well not protect them in times is true and important and of central concern. in one of the guests is that it has the utter confidence that it's impossible to follow jesus today and that we can order our lives to make it so. it is also incorrect.
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it is up political commentator in a writer. as well as repeated references. as a mention today that option was introduced in his book. it sourced his motivation for pursuing. love the lord your god with all of your heart soul and mind. again and again they warn that they pose an x essential threat in the very survival is at stake. the people group in the western civilization. one common thread through the benedict option. we're in a moment when the false hope.
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to find real hope. but there is a danger in using fear and anxiety over cultural physical challenges. it can lead people to the christian community. in my fully affirming the feelings shared by many christians. feelings that had fueled the political engagement. they want to redirect the passions of christians towards the development of stronger christian communities that will read it invent and support the faith.
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instead of using modern challenges two-point us towards altman truth and the fact that we ought to be living in a way that has shaped and driven by that faith and hope we have in christ use cultural circumstances themselves. the chapter on politics i think reflects this point as well. he is viewing them. a solution to the problem but a symptom of it. something i agree with. indeed i have said before and after decades of liberal selling christians it is is acceptance of their claim. rob is right to view the wind as watching the reprieve. particularly when it comes to
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the conflict with sexual freedom. though he offers challenges to that. and of course the religious immigrants. i want to get to other arguments and so i will just state more briefly and perhaps we can discuss this a bit later which is is the vision for political engagement is very much constrained by what he views as the possibility of the political image -- engagement that we might have. what his analysis lacks is a clear identification of the lack of christian formation that is evident. it wasn't completely baked before it got involved. it wasn't because of the culture have gotten ahead of them. but actually they mentioned briefly how they treated the
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americans as a regrettable mistake. as if it was external to the direction. whether the left might be more forgiving of our countercultural views. when they were dominant. it is worth considering. whether it would be so scorn in our time if it have not been wrongly invoked by some conservative christians. this a view of view of recent political history extends to the present. after a couple of sentences on them. there is one cause that should receive all of the attention. ". i agree with that.
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the utmost importance. with the final chapter of my recent book. i want to quickly raise two issues. the first is that surely christians political area can extend beyond political freedom. there is some constructive guidance. investing in institution. the budget was just released that would drastically cut the social safety net.
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increases military spending by $54 billion. the congressional budget office. the current health plan proposed by congress in the menstruation could force 24 million americans off of health insurance. the political witness of christians in national politics should not be limited to advocating for our own personal interests. the benedict option also does not tell the full story about the state of religious freedom in this country. with the exception of the offer is on an unnecessarily burdensome that there is no mention of religious freedom victories or a moralistic picture of the landscape. based in reality. so for instance it includes an entire chapter on christian education. he does not mention that. it is that exception. in the faith-based school. it was notable for two reasons.
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it is not as determined as rob suggests. the case involved the firing of a single female teacher who was found to be pregnant and therefore in violation in the schools ethics policy. it was directly at the intersection of the ideals. it was decided unanimously i've argued to the court. that the exception should not be considered. do they not only exert that. they did so with open surprise at the in ministrations argument. it is a positive story. after eight years of expectations and that groups of these in ministrations
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would restrict groups to higher based on their faith from receiving federal grants. with religious freedom at hobby lobby and the sisters of the poor. they stocked up on the supplies. it took until just hours before the snow hit for it to become clear we would only receive two to 4 inches of snow. a great flood was coming. instead of shoveling their neighbor's driveway.
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they predict it's not a time of that domination. if you take our age to be one of victoria's then perhaps out of the respect of the scarcity we might be led to downgrade our public petition and write out the storm. but if our time is instead one of contesting claims we are facing a very different proposition. if you accept in previous errors they were assumed by the general public than we are the risk and reward. how separate was a proclamation from trading in and the currency of the accepted narrative.
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it is today at the very moment when the question is been ask what is truth what is justice what can i help for what i'm i made for that they can enter the public square with joyful confidence for the flourishing of their neighbors and come alongside them to help them seek the answers we know our available to them. christians cannot offer what they do not had and the church's mission is not clinical success but fidelity for christians we do not seek victory but faithfulness we seek these things not because of cultural circumstances the call to follow jesus dissents culture in time. the benedict option stripped of its cultural baggage drawing on the movement of god and history rather than history of western civilization is an option for all orthodox christians. it is an option we should take up i did not bite legalism but one of the models in rod's book. despite the challenges the
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kingdom of that is available to us many of us in this room were not by god even in this time and i knew exactly where to find us. they wrote later in the introduction individual christians still hear jesus say whoever hears these words of mine and does them is like those intelligent people who build their houses upon rocks. standing firm against every pressure of life. it is the best life strategy i have ever heard of. to learn how to live in his kingdom.
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.. you can certainly give some response and then we'll later get into the weeds a little more. >> okay. the best a writer can hope for is intelligent, big-hearted readers to give an honest critique of one's word so i want to thang michael and ross for that.
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let in the go through some things because we're running late. on the discussion of extremeishing, o'connor said when the world is deaf we have to shout, and i admit, and i completely own that some of the rhetoric i use in "the benedict option" is alarm yeas and strong but i'm trying to shout to wake up a church that not paying attention. last anything in washington i was talking with a senior administrator at a christian college, and i asked him, is it just me or do you see a lack of engagement, even awareness, among christian congregations about the threats to religious faith. he said annot just you and toll me the story of what they had to go through in california last
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year with the state trying to really punish orthodoxolers, the college. he said if it hadn't been nor black church in los angeles, they don't know what would have happened. he says this was an existential threat and this christian college administrator said that this is one of the great bizarre mysteries of christian public life today, how completely disengaged the local church is from the very serious throughouts. so if i have exaggerated at all in this book, but it helps to wake people up and say, look, we have a problem here, we have to get engaged, then i'm happy to own that. i think that ross is right that we don't know if this is going to be a complete belgium-style cultural collapse without the great beer, or it's something more like what russell moore talked about, in his book
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"onward" about the burning away of just mere cultural christianity. if it's what russell moore says i'm grateful for that because it has serve as more of a vaccination against taking the gospel seriously than a support of the gospel. i'm happy for that to change. on the other hand, if this country moves beyond even notional allegiance to christian teaching, clip precepts we're in serious trouble on life issues. for example, ought anyway sharks genetic engineering and a abortion, and that's not something we can take lightly. i really agree with father joseph -- who proticketted the future of the church is one where we're poorer, weaker, far fewer of us, in the west, but the people who remain are going do be those who really believe in the gospel and they -- if
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they act as creative minority can transform the world as people see the difference christ has made in our lives. that's what i hope the future will be and i'm cowling -- i would like it if christianity would not decline but i think we look the statistics and they're serious. think the benedict option ideally will energize local churches and local christian schools and groups of evangelical, protestant, catholic and orthodox to be creative minorities, they ones that pope benedict called for. as to michael's -- i have even more ross things. i'll be very quick. that's it. michael's comment issue think angela merkel has me a a world historical error in her migration policies but, surely, surely, chancellor merkel is correct that the answer to rise of lahm in europe ought to be first and for most a more serious engagement and rediscovery of the christian
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faith by the christian and formerly christian peoples of europe. on the matter of whether or not i'm being too extremist, again, in my analysis, i understand that makes people realun comfortable and it is possible that i have gone too far, but i have to say, how do you account for these statistics? how do you an what christian smith has found about the collapse of any kind of real christian orthodoxy within the churches? how do you account for the statistics on the millenials and the rise of the nones. this is serious. this is a crisis and if youer raising kids in this culture you have to pay close attention and wonder how your kids will hold on to the faith and what you need to do in your family and community to make this happen, given how influential the peer group is on teenagers. i do believe that religious
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liberty is a paramount importance because so much else depends on it. if we lose the right to run our own institutions according to what we know and believe is true, especially educational institutions, and we have lost a lot more is apparent to many of us right now. i did say in the pastage michael quoted that christians should engage in other political causes, too. i think that we have the point that perhaps i may have been too imprecise in any woring. we should prioritize the fight for religious liberty but not devote ourselves it to exclusive limit have to blame in the fake media for distorting my words. [laughter] >> there is good news on the legal front. better news than maybe i indicated in my book. hobby lobby and others, think the broader point still stands,
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as the country grows more and more secular, especially among the elites there will be less and less of an appreciation of importance of religion and religious liberty to american life. a christian professor at an elysee american law school told me moist chins in america would be shocked outlier ignorant and hostile most of the law professors are to the practice of religion. they just don't get and it this is ultimately because they're the ones who are training the future american elites these future members of the establishment. they are the ones who are going to be deciding over the rest of my lifetime the future of religious liberty in the america. thank you for your comments and i'm happy to hear more from our friends on this side. >> thank you, rod. jackie? >> thank you very much for inviting me, for giving me the
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opportunity to be here, and to really think about what i think is a very important book. i do think this is a particularly telling time right now in our culture and for me, i think the reel benedict option is -- i want to talk about four things quickly. one, that original model, a little bit about the question of there is a danger in rod's book of conflating western culture, western civilization, with christianity. and then the role of the black church around the issue of religious freedom, and finally, talk a little bit about my own experience with responding to the mandate for the original -- the original mandate for the bin ticket option.
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acts 42 to 47 read his devoted apostles teaching and fellowship, breaking of bread prayer. earning was filled with awe the many wonders and science performed with the apostles ump all the believers were together and had everything in common. this sold property and'ses to give to anyone who had need. every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. they broke bread in their homes and act together with glad and sincere hearts. praising god and enjoying the favor of all people. and the lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved. to me this is really the model for christian life. that we should be doing the things that are outlined here. devotion to prayer, scripture and fellowship, and i do believe that our churches have falling
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far short of this and there has been much cultural christianity practiced and the church is very weak as result of not having taken the model seriously. i remember going to the harvard christian fellowship, and just being bewildered. i was a new christian and i thought christianity was supposed to turn your life upside-down and reorder your priorities. your hole wife was supposed to be -- now whole life was spored to folder and if it was warm milk and cookies and business as usual. it was really much of what rod described in this book. the concern with consumerism and a comfortable life, getting a harvard degree and going on to being extremely comfortable financially. the other thing that is here that i took very seriously was -- the pentecost until our church, we take seriously the belief that god has a power to
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heal to work miracles, even in the 21st century. it's something that is found in very few churches. another thing i think we fall short on. and it says the believers worked together and had everything in common. do we care for each other that way? instead we lead as rod described these at tommizeed lives. separate from each other, not knowing our neighbors, and very often church is a matter -- sort of like looking of your watch. he went disit's one hour and one minute. when is he going to end? so, there's time for fellowship and isn't tame for connection and investing in each other's lives and caring for each other radically as these people did because they met every day and if anybody was in need they were ready to sell what they had to take care of each other. that i believe is the original
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benedict option. i think -- so i celebrate the book. celebrate the book because it holds up for me what is really the model for christianity, what is really taught in the bible and which has been overlooked. but i want to point out where i am concerned and that is the feeling that there's a conflation of christianity with within -- with western culture and christianity was born in the middle eastern millual. won two were writtenty actual europeans or one man was actually european and much of the early developments in christianity actually took place in north africa and moved from africa into europe. people like our ins, ignatius, the early church fathers, you point to the importance of the period but so much was rooted in
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north africa. and christianity will survive the fall of the west. it's god's work, not the work of the west, and today, according to a 2011 report from the pew research center, christianity is true lay -- truly a global religion. le and about one in eight is found inspiration the pacific. the share of the population that is christian in subsaharan africa child from nine percent in 1910 to 6 % in 2010. so, they go on to say, christianity today unlike a century ago is a global faith. it's really important that as we talk bet benedict option, the crisis facing the united states and western culture, that we
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take care not to alienate that section of the u.s. population that is nose white. a growing proportion of that population which i think does not necessarily -- i'd like to give my kid this back to read but they would not warm to it because it's not written to a broad enough audience. i think that perhaps there's one strategy to be explored is to dry on the dynamic holy spirit-filled strength of the church in africa and in south america, and revival in our preaching white churches here in the united states. religious freedom, rod pointed just now to the role that the presiding bishop of the church of god in christ played in the threat to christian colleges in california. happens to be my husband's bishop. i just want to say, this is really important because a lot of millenials see the claim to
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religious freedom as an excuse for discrimination, we should champion the -- we condemn them and millenials reject us us a a result of that and see the church as the source of the problem. but black people, we're the ones in country who suffer the most grove obvious forms of discrimination. we are the ones who continue to be harmed by structural racism, mass incarceration, and it was our faith that inspired our ancestors to lead -- sorry, i have to -- where is my sign? time? thank you -- who lead -- thank you very much. that really inspired to us lead the civil rights movement and it is so essential -- if we stand up and talk about religious
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freedom, we have a level of credibility that is unparalleled in the rest of the church because too often the white church is associate net minds of millenials and others with racism rather than with championing the cause of the poor. so not much time for my personal experience. i would just say that the writings were powerful in influencing my husband, eugene rivers when we were undergreat whatted of harvard, turning him on to benedict option and was instruction but the rad clay character of the understanding of christian faith and practice and their sincerity and actually carrying it out. as a result several of us as undergreats from harvard, part of the jc moore society, traveled to connecticut and actual live saw the community in action and we were struck by it.
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we went back -- we weren't ready to retreat. so we went back and tried to build this idea of community right in the inner city in boston, but drawing strength from what we had seen there the model of really having shared work that would behind us together. the model a rich spiritual life with sharing one another's burdens, both spiritually, emotionally, and economically. the model of spending time together, of really being the christian village that rod writes about. the model of simple living, of not embracing a consumerist culture. i'm really grateful to the role that it played in shape are our spiritual lives as we faced the challenges of trying to do something like this among the poor, where they -- people had
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not yet made it. it's even harder to resist the consumerist culture if you never had it. right? it's out there. everybody else has it. you've never had a bite of the apple. so those were some of the challenges we faced, and the whole question to how you really educate the next generation, which rod raises in his book, that is a very challenging piece of what we faced. i'm grateful for the book and the chance to talk about it, and really to encourage people to embrace this original benedict option. [applause] >> that's great, jackie. i'm -- it resonates in my heart. i'm not a scholar.
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i'm not a public speaker. i'm actually a pharmacist. i know more about drugs than either of those two things. and canning rue -- kangaroos. i gave up that career to be a brother and i come from that angle. more about that later. i want to start by thanking rod dreher for starting this important conversation about how we can as christians more faithfully follow jesus, which is what it's all about. it's encouraging that many people are paying attention to this book, the same time seems to me that the most frequent reaction to his ideas sort of a howell of -- howl of protest about withdrawal in favor of engagement, misses the main point rod is making and is the
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reverse of my own experience in living out my faith. so the first opinion i'd like to -- the first point i'd like to make is this. building a communal church along the lines rod suggests allows christians to engage more and more meaningful with our fellow human beings. assimilation to the ways of the world is as dangerous as jesus tells us it is. dreher is right in pointing to this, but the stronger the center is, -- and that is just -- the more dearing -- the more daring out outreach to the world can be mitchell own life is an illustration of this. for the past 30 years my wife, linda, and i, have been members of the b ryu derhot, christian communal chump that is 100 years nold which we share all things
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common in the spirit of the first church in jerusalem. many of the staff you saw the book tables and welcoming you are from our church community. i believe that we have been able, my wife and i, to engage more deeply and more broadly than if we remain as fa family. we're both farm kids for minnesota and grew up in what nowdays would be call disfunctional families. alcoholic father, in my case, abusive situation in my wife's case. our families were nominally christian, culturally christian, you would say. i grew up lutheran. my wife grew up catholic. but faith in jesus really didn't mean anything to us. bur our mid-20s we were well on the road to conventional middle class life. we had a house two kid two cars,
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two tvs, and very unhappy. something was radically missing. through a bible study we came to faith in jesus. later, as we read in the book of act wed were struck by the wilt of the early church. the realization that they shared everything. sold their possessions, they worshiped together, ate together. it actually shocked us because we hadn't ever taken that in. acts tells this was the result of a movement of repentens and the coming of the holy spirit. this excited us and it drove us in a search for a life of community. so we started living in community with a few other families and this lasted about five years. it was a challenging and exciting time for us. and we continued searching.
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then we ran kraout tan the writing 0 arnold. his department of understanding of living for jesus and the kingdom answered many of our questions. in his book, whoa we live in community, he writes, community life for us is an inescapable must. we must live in community because we are compelled by the same spirit that has led to community time and time again, since the days of biblical prophecies and early christianity. those word thrill me today as much as they did 30 years ago when i rae them. so we came to unit in 1987. hour life since then has been one of intense engagement with every imaginable segment of society. i'll describe this not to sing praise of the community have plenty of weaknesses and anyone
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who visited us would know that but to show what community life makes possible. actually for the past 17 years, linda and i have lived in australia. we we founded a community done there with a communities you. might think that was ultimate withdrawal. we lift in rural australia. that are not many people there. there are many more kangaroos. but it wasn't. in the first place there was simply the neighborly contact that happens with the locals there was bash barbecues, christmas carol sings, invitations to each other's homes. our community members baby-sat, we did home care for elderly shutins and did home repairs. this extended to my work as a police chaplain with the new south wales police forth other. members on the fire brigade. emergency medical services.
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and a host of other outreach. as part of stewardship for their earth we co liberated with local farmers in sustainable agriculture techniques which have made a measurable difference in our area. our community partner if with local charities and organizations like world vision, save the children, our young people volunteer in crisis situations, and we support them financially. we literally hosted thousands of guests in australia from all over southeast asia. from everything from itinerant hipsters to federal politicians to local aboriginal community leaders, leading up to a very unfor gettable moment this your when one of the dellers blessed the site of a house we were billing. linda and i visited church communities all over australia and tasmania and new zealand, thailand, and south korea.
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would we have done as much as a solitaire nuclear family? i doubt it. there's certainly are individual who achieve this level of connectivity just by force of personality, but this brings me to my second point. society and especially christian society, needs to create space for the weak and bren as well as those with extraordinary talents. only in a communal church can the old and the very young, hurting military vans, ex-addicts, ex-felons 0, simply annoying people -- [laughter] -- like myself, find a place where they can be held and -- healed and accepted and contribute to life. i share a common meal every day with brothers and sisters that answer to each of these descriptions. those who preach engagement often fail to think how we as
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christians can actually bear each other's burdens whether economic, medical, emotional, outside of strong communities. where is the love and engaging the world if we don't have time for the emotionally fragile neighbor? pope francis gets summoning wright in speak of the church as a field hospital. and on to my third point. building communal churches is not an option. it is our calling as disciples. my constructive criticism of rod is he isn't taking his own proposal seriously enough. the rule of st. benedict is wonderful. it's wise, it's an important document, but why stop at benedict when we can go back bao the original source of christianity. christians living in full community is how the church began. it's the only way i know of where jesus' teachings in the
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sermon on the mount become a practical reality and the early church was far more radical than anything rod has so far proposed. the early christians, as jackie said, turn the world upside-down. they shared everything in common. and actually the rule of st. benedict has some very strong words to say against private property and refers to acts 2 and 4. they evangelize the whole known world. they refuse participate in violence of any kind, including self-defense, military service, abortion, and the death penalty. they model a new ethic of sexuality. and family life that honored equal dignity before god of both men and women. what is more, within three centuries they had revolutionized the greek roman society.
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nobody can accuse the early christians of withdrawal. but this is not a life for the faint-heard. it requires all or nothing, full-time, livetime commitment, at t -- ts el requestality -- it won't be enough apply a few aspects of the rule of st. benedict that dove tail nicely into our private middle class american lifestyle. how many of us are like the rich young man who couldn't accept jesus' invitation because he wasn't able to part with his possessions. yet in the early church did not come into existence by means of moral efforts or legalistic rules but because of the joy of following jesus. linda would i would live in church community whether society was going to pieces or not. for me, the life i live is a calling from jesus and the best
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way that i have found to follow him, and i don't think this way is just for a few traditional christians or the most radical among us. it's actually the good news and the new life that jesus offers and want for all people. as rod puts it in his final chapter, fit leg -- fittingly tight they would benedict depression, we fine others like us and build communities. schools for the service of the lord. we do this not to save the world but for no other reason than we love him and know that we need a community and an ordered way of thrive fully serve him. amen to that, rod. thank you. [applause] in. >> well, thank you both so much for your kind words and
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constructive criticism. jackie, when yaw talked about people thinking church takes too long, orthodoxy will cure you've of that. but let us complete our prayer into the lord. it's time to settle in. i appreciate what you said about there doing a danger of conflating christianity with western culture. think you're completely right. christianity is a global religion, and in fact in my last tenures of been an eastern oath her or are orthodox christianity. and it's booming in the south. a lot of us conservative christians in the west look to africa and faithful from county christians to evangelies europe
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and i'd like to get a shoutout to -- but we live -- i live -- you live, we all live in the west. the lord promises us that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church but he did not promise us that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church in the west. that is up to all of us christians who live right here, right now. we can take heart and an example from our brothers and sisters in the lord who live in the global south in asia, the middle east, who are bearing such witness to christ right now, but we have to make that work right here. please don't think that the faith is only limited to the west. i wouldn't say that at all. and i -- in fact i want to say i encourage my fellow christians in the west to immerse themselves in the prayer life and wisdom of the eastern orthodox church, the other part
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lung of the church. we have so much to learn and to be honest we have lot to learn from tower evangelical brothers and sisters which is one of the great blessings for me as i have written about the benedict option is getting to know evangelicals and know -- learn their strengths, weaknesses, and enjoy their friendship. i really do believe we all have to work together. and that brings to us also your comments about the black church. i didn't feel that when i was writing the benedict option that i had the moral authority to aappropriate operate the experience of the black church in my own cause. in fact, the black church -- somebody grew up in the deep south as a white man, i know that the black church had to deal with lynchings, fire bombings, with terrorism in a condition that is completely unknown to the broader church in american 2017. i did not feel right in
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comparing the experience of the black church to what we're dealing with today historically, but let me say that it's my hope that if the benedict option concept catches on, that there will be black writers who arrive who can talk about with moral authority an experience about what the black church has to teach the broader church today about the benedict option and, sister, hope you write that book. similarly i want to say that the benedict option is just a general concept. it's not a 20-point program. it is an orientation towards our history as christians and the future and the benedict option will -- if it develops it will look different for roman catholics than for eastern orthodox and evangelicals. our friend jake meter is in the audience tonight. an author of an important
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evangelical blog and the greatest ex-opponent and explainer for the benedict option among the evangel:calls. if the benedict option takes off he knows how to make this live in the evangelical idiom. this is going to require all of us to come together in the church, all of us faithful christians, to work across the doom -- denominational lines not one that ignores distinctives in which we know what we are facing and we want to help each other be more faithful right here, right now. i appreciate what the bishop had to say about this important conversation. that's what i want to start a conversation. i don't have all the answers itch need someone from the black church itself and roman catholic
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friends more deeply from my own orthodox tradition and evangelical friends because we are all in this together. that's one thing i'm absolutely convinced of, we're install this together. we have the -- the stronger the center, the more daring our outreach can be. that is such a beautiful encapsulation of the benedict option. federica, the wife of -- the founder of the community in italy, the catholic community, she told me dish asked her about this. what do you say to people who say that you are withdrawing because the live in the city in normal apartments go to their normal catholic parishes but come together in community and their center for prayer, for the mass, for scripture study, for a sports, for communal gardening and common meals. so what do you say to people you're withdrawing ship said, that's not true.
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we do edge gauge the community ins of charity and other things but we and our children can more confidently and meaningfully engage the world because we know who we are. so for disthis is about strategic withdrawal from the world for the sake of serving the world as authentic christians. bishop, your testimony inspires and delights me, frankly. you and your community have a gift to share with the whole church. and i hope and pray, peter will write a book about the benedict option. i am advocating for everybody's book us' these are book is want to read the whole church needs to know. you shock about the joy of following jesus and this is what the only really effective witness we will have to the world today. my old front, pope benedict xvi
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said, the greatest arguments the church has for itself are not the propositions but the beauty it produces and the saints its produces. in other words beauty and goodness. these are things that can speak to the hearts of a world that has grown indifferent to reason to rational argument. when you are confronted, as i was, as a callous 17-year-old, wandering into the catholic in france, and suddenly being cracked over the head by the immensity of god there in that -- of stone and gross. walked out there knowing there was something greater than myself and i had been in his presence in that cathedral. that is the kind of thing. that can speak to people or being in the presence of men and women who gave everything,ing a s rick officially to serve the poor and the needy and serve the lord. this is the sort of thing -- the
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doors through which people can walk that will get to the truth, the truth that is jesus christ. so if you're not joyful, you're not doing it right. and i thank you for reminding us of that. [applause] in >> well, so many rich themes in this conversation so far and it would be an evening to pursue any one of them. we are getting down to time and we only have a few mother -- a few more minutes together. wanted to in the spirit of the conversation give a chance to each of you on the panel to direct one question and then in the spirit of the discipline that rod also called for in his book, we'll restrict ourselves to one minute response. just to throw a few things out there we can argue about afterwards because we need to
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continue these conversations. this is what this evening is about. >> [inaudible] >> so this is totally unfair but we'll do it anyway. ross, would you have something to throw out there, just to start this off? >> i mean, there's not a one minute replay to this question so i suppose it's unfair but i think it is worth -- one of the objections that gets raised to rod's argue. is not about sort of politics and engagement but about the problem of community, the problem that these sort of building blocks we're talking about can turn toxic in their ways and that can be true of individual families, but it can be true of churches, communities, and so on as well. and i just wonder in thinking about the benedict option, how we think about sort of its dark side.
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the cultic overly cloisters hermetically sealed side and maybe this is a question for rod because in not precisely this way but rod was living the benedict option before he wrote the benedict option. rod is this inspiring story of the man who went back to louisiana, back to his home town, back to his family to help his family, back to plant a missional orthodox church and those of us who read his blog religiously, as it were, know that both of to the projects fill on hard times. so i guess my question for you, rod, how does your own experience of sort of struggle and difficulty in communal life inform how you think about urging the benedict option on the struggling rest of us. >> well, thank you for that -- >> in one minute. >> i think that we have to be very, very important not to expect more out of community than it can deliver. the last utopia we had ended
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when adam and eve were thrown out of the garden, and we have to be extremely careful not to idolize community. in fact if you read me book, how dante can save your life, now out in paperback, you'll see that i had to come through the lord broke me in a profound way and allowed know break on my own idol worship of family and community so i could react more humbly and be held of disorders in my own heart. so i keep this in my mind and somebody who was bullied in high school, living in a small wonderful town and i am always afraid of the mob because of that and worry about the mob. that said, the downside to community does not on viate the good side and our need for it. think we have to be realistic
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and care about the abuse of authority. in the book, benedict option, put some quotes in there i got from interviewing a young firmerly catholic woman, 18-year-old, who is an athiest now. she said that when she and her siblings were younger their parents took them off to live in an a rural part of the country and they were militant paranoid fearful catholics who were awaiting the three dives darkness and saw impurity everywhere, demons behind everything. every one hover those kid when they got 18 threw their faithway slump said just make sure you readers know you can take this too far and destroy everything you want to protect. think this counsel is wise to any of white house went on to take the benedict option. >> so close to a minute, rod. michael. >> well, i guess i'm just interest in the tension between
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just take one step and if you don't take all of it, it's useless, which is sort of this isn't -- again -- >> once a year. >> i was interested in rod addressing that tension. is it sort of -- is your hope that people will take this as far as they feel willing to take it or do you think the value increases as people take on the wholistic vision of the rule? >> that's a great question. i appreciate our fragile we are and how fragile it is, hour our
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ideas can lead to us some very dark places that may not survive. i think that we have got to keep in mind that we are on a pilgrimage. the whole spiritual life is a pilgrimage together and we'll grow stronger as we continue on in life through repentens, through prayer, through fasting, through attending the lilt the liturgy. i have found in my own christian walk as i have been led into deeper repentans and deeper pray i have found it easier to do certain thing is once thought impossible as a christian. my brice when i was suffering
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the built of miss despair and physical sickness from the anxieties over the struggle with my own family, he gave me a very strict prayer rule that committed me to an hour a day of contemplative brother. it would have been easier to walk up a mountain than that because my mind is so's and raising itch found it so hard to do but after two or three months of real struggle with it, i began to notice my heart agreeing more still -- growing more still and i think the holy spirit produced the still ness that led to my healing but had to start with one hard thing, doing the jesus prayer on my prayer book for an hour a day and i found that to be the greatest challenge i could possibly do at that time in my own weakness and now it seems pretty easy to me because there
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are other challenges, cob version of life is a life ongoing thing, not a one-time thing. it requires your whole life. >> i understand that you see christianity as a global religion, and concerned about the fate of christianity in the west, but i still am struggling with what seems to me to be a tone that doesn't reflect sensitivity to that in the book. i'm also concerned because the united states right now is continues to be really religiously segregated. especially in the northeast and the south. less so in the west and the southwest. and in addition to that, there's growing segregation by income. as we move into community that is more locally based, how do we guard against increasing this
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lack of understanding of other cultures, in particular on the racial front. how do we avoid actually reinforcing the class segregation? >> thank you for that. i really inspired by the work of my friend, russell moore, the southern baptist leader, on racial reconciliation. i think this is important work. this is gospel work and it's something that ought to concern us all. one thing i would say, though, is this is a problem that we ran into in my own home town wayne protestant church there they had a new minister come in, a white church, who pushed them all and said you have to be integrated and invite african-americans to church with us. what he -- his intentions were just, but the same time he did not recognize the african-americans in our small southern town had history going back to the slave days.
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the black church had its own traditions and as a black friend of mine said, went to the white church one time and you'll never get me back in there. it's not a racial thing. it's that this was not how he had been raised to worship. they were much more pentecost stall in the way he was warshipping and that's okay but that doesn't give us an excuse to stand aside and never fellowship with each other across early lines. the class thing is an enormous problem. jd vance's book, hillbillyingie has awaken a lot of white house level in miffed contractual bubbles to know problems of class and how many little many of us ncaa white church, have to say who are brothers and sisters who are working class and poor and struggle with problems we can scarcely conceive of and don't turn to the church for help. this is going to be an enormous area of creativity to be the creative minority. we have to figure out how to reach out to the working class and the poor, but at the same
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time i think the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. if we think that we have to have the whole thing profited out so we can -- plotted out to clued every person bev they can first step we'll never get started. people talklet christian schools which i champion, they says is this home schooling and something only for the middle class? is might we right now because you have to have one parent at home to do the home schooling, a chris cal christian home schooling or maybe you need -- higher income to afford a classical christian school but that doesn't moon we shouldn't try. churches need to redirect their tithes and efforts turned expanding the opportunity of classical christian schooling and home schooling to the children of the poor and the working poor and working class, but we have to start somewhere and should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good enough for right now.
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as ross was writing about in his column have to day about benedict option. >> ron, i agree very much with you that we're all on a journey. linda and i talk to one step at a time and stumbled around for years and were led into community. i would be very interested in your comments on how the gospel calls us to give up everything for jesus. and how that plays into our very middle class american culture, not everybody is middle class, obviously, but how does that play in? how do we -- >> that's the question. it has to always be the
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forefront of our mines. we're now in great lent which means no meat and no dairy, and when queue first start out in orthodoxy and you take on the fasting that is part of the church's tradition for many, many centuries its seems terrible. it's like how can i do without meat for 40 days? how can i do without dairy? but you do it because that's what we do. we obey and whole community is doing it. but then once you get used to fasting you learn that if we don't deny ourselves in small things we'll find is impossible to deny ourselves in larger things ump i'm not saying that fasting on lent or wednesdays and fridays is the same thing as sacrificing your life for christ, we are all ultimately called to do but it has to start somewhere and i talk in the back a pratt practice the entire
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church needs to learn i love to eat and drink and i lead a very comfortable middle class existence. it is hard for know learn to diet myself but i know especially during lent that is what i have to do and i have so much to repent of. i think that as -- if we in the church, the broader church, will return to assettism, come look and see what we do in the eastern orthodox church and how the practices can be adapted for the entire church, the practice of fasting, which our lord did as we know and the early church did and the church then -- the entire church did for many centuries. this can be a good first step in training ourselves to subject everything to the explored also i said in the talk, we have to ask yourselves how they have the courage to stand there and say, you can take everything away from us, even our life. we will not abandon the lord.
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i think this is one way history, the history of the church, the history of the martyrs, the early martyrs the persecuted church up to the current history being made every day of the persecuted church in the mideast and elsewhere that has something to say to one. on therefore he disciplines with the children is read them from the write examination interviews of father george, an orthodox priest impresent by the romanian communists and along with others with catholics and pros protestants, and one man was ore toured. that i were made to surveil unspeakable torture for christ, and when far came out of the prison and came to america and talked about this before his death. i read stories that he tells about keeping the faith under torture and imprisonment and i read thome children at an age appropriate level. please, i'm not -- nothing gum
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but tell them this man lived today -- my dear friend is an orthodox priest's wife today in suburban baltimore. that her her spiritual father him lived in america until the died and i tell my kids this is how cloves it is. you know miss fredricka, this was her spiritual father me and lived this in living memory. hough did he find the love to do this to suffer and not give up the gospel? that's what we have to learn. yeah imagine what it's like elsewhere but this is what christians live all over the world and have done for most of the history of the church. so i think by telling these stories, bishop, and by practices like something as simple as fasting, start out simple, these can help prepare ourselves to plow the land for the seeds of the true gospel of giving up everything for christ.
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>> amen. [applause] >> so, thank you, rot. thank you, each of you on the panel. this has been a wonderful evening and thank you to all of you who came to join us, particularly to those who in true orthodox fashion have been standing, and it's been wonderful to spend this time together. we hope to continue these conversations and the days and weeks to come. this is important stuff, and may we all in the word hebrews, spur one another on to've and -- to love and good deeds. so thank the panel and rod once more. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> this weekend on booktv we're live with pull litter prize nominate -- pulitzer price nominated author, aannie jacobsen. it's your chance to ask her about her books which include topics sufficient as the military, darpa, nazi scientists and area 51, and then of "after words," senator shelton whitehouse weighs in on how corporate money impacts the government and we approximately bring you a history of dodge city, kansas, once considered one of the most violent towns in west. 'shirley recalls reagan's path to the presidency.
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rebecca solnit authors already thoughts on change owes curing within the feminist movement. and book tv visits chico, california, to visit the city's literary sites. all this weekend on c-span2's book tv. 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books, television for serious readers. >> here's a look at upcoming fairs and festivals in the country:

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