Publishing today and already rising on Amazon is The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation by Rod Dreher (PRH/Sentinel; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), moving from #727 to #18.
Dreher, a senior editor at The American Conservative and the author of How Dante Can Save Your Life, believes that Christians have lost the culture wars and suggests that, rather than continuing to fight a losing battle, they should retreat into their own communities, following the example of St. Benedict of Nursia, a sixth-century monk whose followers kept their faith alive through the Dark Ages. Dreher suggests contemporary Christians do the same, creating strong churches, private religious schools, and strengthening their community bonds to one another.
David Brooks features it in his popular NYT column today. While vehemently disagreeing with Dreher’s points, he calls the book “the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.”
In late February The Atlantic ran an in-depth feature, saying Dreher’s “work is largely a project of lament. He speaks about Christianity in apocalyptic terms … He prophesies dire scenarios for Christians in America … Most importantly, he writes with resentment, largely directed at those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and their supporters—the people, he believes, who have pushed Christians out of the public sphere.”
The Washington Post predicts that we will “hear a lot about the Benedict Option” and “Dreher calls Christians to build Christian institutions ‘that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the occupation.’ The Benedict Option is nothing if not embattled. Readers are left to wonder if military metaphors are the best way for Christians to think of relating to non-Christians — that is, their neighbors.”
It was not widely reviewed pre-pub and few libraries we checked have placed orders. Those that have are showing holds as high as 7:1 on token numbers of copies.
Dreher was on Fox news last night. Host Tucker Carlson said the book is “blowing up the Internet.”