I made it through the second fifty pages since my last post on this book. Chapter Three involves a visit to an Italian Benedictine monastery. I find it curious that Mr Dreher would choose to cross the Atlantic to detail a monastic movement from the inside when he had dozens of choices much closer.
Trappists are perhaps the most hardcore of the Benedictine heritage. Other communities have found fruitfulness in a country not always welcoming of Catholics.
I had the same reaction to the lament over persecution as I’ve had when I’ve read conservative Christians online. Warnings about losing one’s job and having one’s children barred from the college of their choice are a choice brand of apocalypticism. That kind of thing happens in the Middle East. Ejecting people from jobs has been a favorite political tactic of the American Right. Not to mention LGBT people being accepted into church jobs with a wink and their children embraced as Catholic school students, only to have the wink rescinded once the sexuality of partners or parents was outed.
When Rod Dreher talks about “A New Kind of Christian Politics” it reads like sour grapes. I know: he had a lot of keystrokes invested in the culturewar. I understand his bitterness with business interests determining that they have more to gain by embracing a wider net of people. What did he expect? Political conservativism involves no bestowal of immaculate freedom from sin. Likewise for the self-styled faithful orthodox. We are all human beings, Left and Right. As such, we all sin and fall short of an ideal of virtue.
As for the suggestion to delve into “antipolitical politics,” I’ve read of a lot of liberals doing the like for the past forty years:
Secede culturally from the mainstream. Turn off the television. Put the smartphones away. Read books. Play games. Feast with your neighbors. It is not enough to avoid what is bad; you must also embrace what is good.
What the author speaks of here is an intentionality about one’s life. To decide what the best course for fruitful living might be, and then to take steps to aim toward it. A lot of non-religious people are doing it. Also liberals, libertarians, hippies, Greens, and a larger assortment of people than with whom Mr Dreher usually chums, I suspect.