Tired of Being Tired?
Are You Fed Up with Fast-Paced, Superficial, Suburban Living?
Rod Dreher is a journalist who has written a fascinating book about how to find joy, as Christians, in a day when the cultural darkness is increasing rapidly. The book is entitled, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. Dreher asks if we have “compromised too much with the world” and suggests ways to build communities within our churches that can help us lead joy-filled lives of impact.
In his book, Dreher draws from the much-quoted ending of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue that foresees a new Dark Age and our need for a “another—doubtless very different—St. Benedict.” Benedict was the fifth century Italian monk who lived through the collapse of the Roman Empire. Instead of simply retreating for the hills, Benedict founded monastic communities to impact and engage the culture around them. The monks practiced radical (aka normal) sacrificial Christian choices) and found a stability and personal peace that the world could never produce. These kinds of people naturally draw others to the gospel.
Dreher speculates that western culture is literally on the edge of collapse and that we need to become more intentional about building healthy churches and other forms of Christian community. He nudges genuine Christians (and their families) to get serious about making godly decisions if they want to find stability and joy while being people of impact. We don’t have to get sucked into the never-ending cycle of sports and extra-curricular activities, running ourselves ragged with our busy suburban lifestyles that only lead to many churched folks living trivial, superficial, financially strained, chaotic lives. Lives of quiet misery and despair. Lives of boredom and drudgery.
While not urging us to “retreat to the hills,” Dreher does encourage us to quit fighting so many culture wars and be more engaged in investing in the lives of others around us. He reminds us to spend time in the ancient Christian disciplines that moderns have neglected. Disciplines like fasting, prayer (personal and corporate), Bible reading, sacrificial giving, and regular corporate worship. This is a book worth reading and chewing on in our hectic suburban contexts!
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor