About four years ago I gave in to the temptation of speaking to a men’s retreat at my parish, the well-known Christ Renews His Parish program. I think of it as a temptation because it’s easy for me to want to parade my learning (such as it is), embellish episodes from my picaresque personal history, and promote myself as a regular pillar of sanctity. I gave my witness, as it’s called, near the end of the weekend. Afterwards one of… Read more

“Christ is at once rich and poor: as God, rich; as a human person, poor. Truly, that Man rose to heaven already rich, and now sits at the right hand of the Father, but here, among us, he still suffers hunger, thirst and nakedness: here he is poor and is in the poor.” -St. Augustine Christ “is poor and is in the poor,” says St. Augustine, providing a most succinct justification of the Church’s “preferential option.” Structurally, the poor share an… Read more

I have abhorred work for as long as I can remember. I don’t mean that I’m against exerting myself. I do that all the time, but my exertions, it has always been made abundantly clear, do not qualify as “work.” Work, as an American institution—work with capital “W”—is something foreign to my nature. It isn’t just that I find it unpleasant and unfulfilling. It is also that I’ve never been able to force myself to respect it, even way back… Read more

The prospect of living with – as distinct from near or among – the poor is perhaps the most daunting aspect of the Dorothy Option, especially for a middle-class suburbanite whose “home is his castle.” It’s one thing to bring food and toiletries to a homeless person. It is something else altogether to negotiate cooking chores and bathroom time with that same person in a shared home. Dorothy understood that embracing radical hospitality had to be accomplished in small steps. In… Read more

Strange as it may seem, my own journey towards the Dorothy Option began with Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian novel The Road. Certainly, neither the author nor the work are known for their orthodox Christian sensibilities, and yet, reading the book led me to reflect more deeply on three of the most critical aspects of life for people of faith today- our own complicity in evil, the struggle to live a moral life- to, in the words of the book, “carry the fire”- in the… Read more

John Michael Greer over at The Archdruid Report has produced a great piece of analysis on the American economic arrangement an, as a consequence, the Trump phenomenon. He redraws the lines of political class and the picture he develops is useful: “It so happens that you can determine a huge amount about the economic and social prospects of people in America today by asking one remarkably simple question: how do they get most of their income? Broadly speaking—there are exceptions, which I’ll get to… Read more

Welcome to the first post on Solidarity Hall’s new group blog, The Dorothy Option. Our title is taken from a June 2011 post of mine at Vox Nova titled, “Catholic Citizenship and the Dorothy Option.” For the historical record, it’s worth noting that my use of the now ubiquitous “Option” device appears to have been the first. Rod Dreher didn’t propose his Benedict Option, now the gold standard of the breed, until December 2013. In the wake of the BenOp, we’ve been treated to alternative… Read more

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