The outrage from big business (even Walmart!), the media, and the culture at large over Indiana’s Religious Freedom bill has many Christians thinking that America is a lost cause. The dominant culture is so fixated on gay marriage and sexual permissiveness that it will not tolerate dissenters. Even religious liberty, in the court of public opinion and likely legal opinion, will have to give way, and conservative believers will increasingly be demonized and punished.
Whether we are actually at that point or not, a number of thinkers–mostly of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox persuasion–are raising the possibility of what they call The Benedict Option.
After Rome fell to moral chaos and then to the barbarians, St. Benedict formed distinct Christian communities where believers could practice their faith separated from the world. Similarly, mainstream American culture may become so hostile to Christianity, so the reasoning goes, that Christians must form alternative communities, carrying on an alternative culture, until, as with Benedict, the barbarians are converted.
Rick Strickert posted some powerful quotations on this subject on Lutheran Forum, which I give after the jump. And then I want to pose a question: Can there be a Lutheran version of the Benedict Option, and, if so, how would it be different from the Roman Catholic and Fundamentalist versions? [Read more…]