Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Benedict Option. What Is It?

Over the last several years I have pondered the idea of separating myself, my family, and a willing group of "fremily" (friends like family) from the culture at large. A colony if you will. Yes, I know, hippie communes, Jonestown, Waco, etc., are probably the first things that you think of. Others immediately think of the Old Order Amish and Mennonite or German Baptist communities. Regardless, there is a growing interest in so called "intentional communities."

Honestly, I started thinking about the idea almost 20 years ago. The ever encroaching tentacles of relative morality culture worm their way into every facet of life. Many people lament this, yet, they also balk at taking big steps to end that influence. However, over the last several years, there is serious discussion, particularly in the more religious circles of the "Benedict Option." The concept means different things to different people. You can spend hours researching different opinions on the internet. Some folks believe it will cure society's ills, others see nothing but persecution of those who are outside of such a community.

Given today's technical marvels, many folks long for a real connection: with others and with tangible things. For some, all they need is their neighbor and a small garden. Others require more. There is concern for a concentration of power over the community by a select few. But we see this now in our nation at large. There are great discussions on how to set up communities in order to prevent this from happening.

Many people sense a drastic change coming down the road. Community and tribe can help survive such change. References to how knowledge survived during the Dark Ages usually give nods to the monastic orders and the communities that sprung up around such facilities. There are other people that are suspicious of anything "overtly" religious in the formation of such communities. It can be argued that there are morals in every society that do not require a religious background. That is a discussion for another time. Communities gather and grow due to many reasons.

One of the better explorations of how communities grow is in the Changeverse Series by S.M. Stirling. (A word of caution here: there is adult material in the series, along with a lot of Wiccan references in one of the communities created. I personally am not bothered by this. However, other may be. Still, the series as a study in the develop of tribes and communities cannot be ignored. S.M. Sterling did his homework.) 

Detractors of such communities also argue that, at least from a faith point of view, that Faith's light is removed from the culture at large. Supporters would argue that the culture is too far gone and that these communities will be able to seed the destroyed remnants of society after the fall.

Below I am including more links to various articles on and locations of Benedict Option communities, both pro and con. Do your own research and study.

Benedict Option FAQs

The Benedict Option is Meaningless

The Benedict Option as Culture War

I Grew Up in the Benedict Option. Here's Why it didn't Work

Galicia Reconnaissance Report

Spanish Mission

New Catholic Land Movement


School for Conversion


St John Orthodox Cathedral and Community

Clear Creek Abbey and Community; Also this, one blogger's experience at Clear Creek.

The Benedict Option and the Lay Vocation


  1. The Benedict Option is just a talking point for modern Christians. Modern Christians are useless, all talk and no action. But there are people who are actually living this, namely the traditional Anabaptists. Anyone who has had enough of modern culture can just join one of these groups. I am planning to move to a conservative Mennonite community, and I am not even Christian.

  2. fschmidt, thanks for stopping by. I see your point and I understand where you are coming from. Why do you think modern Christians seem to be this way? Or is it more of an American thing?

    I actually grew up for several years in the Amish Mennonite community. They can be very insular, but once you have gained their trust, they can be very helpful. There are other groups, that while not anabaptist, actually adapt several of their ideas of community in developing their own separate communities.

  3. I think the core issue for Christians is faith versus works. Of course all of Christianity requires faith since this is the basis of their religion. The question is whether they also require works. Those Christian denominations that don't require works are basically useless. These are the Christians who are all talk and no action.

    Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity require works in theory. But in practice, identifying what works matter is delegated to a priesthood which is more interested in quantity of followers than in quality of followers, so the works requirement is minimal.

    Traditional Anabaptists also require works. But they don't have the priesthood problem, and the required works is decided by each group based on what they believe is best for the group. This works well.

    In Protestantism, Luther rejected works but Calvin brought works back by insisting that works are proof of faith, so those lacking works must lack faith. This concept worked well until it was undermined in the Second Great Awakening which turned Protestantism into an emotional experience with no requirement of works. This started in America but eventually ruined Protestantism worldwide.

    Note that I am not Christian, so this in my outsider's view based on my knowledge of history.

    I believe that traditional Anabaptists currently offer the best hope of saving the world from modern cultural insanity. This book offers a possible way that they could spread their message:

    1. Thanks for sharing this. I can certainly appreciate your study and search.