Monday, July 11, 2016

Theological Fluff - or, What Happens When Mainstream Catholicism Tries Offering a Response to the Benedict Option

It abounds. Usually regarding any contemporary issue. Oftentimes coming out of contemporary Roman Catholic circles.

In keeping with the tradition of Theological Fluff (cute, internet meme styled options devoid of substance and rigor, behold : the David Option.

Where does one begin?
"While various scholars debate on what exactly the Benedict Option is or what it should look like, generally the option includes retreating from the world, preserving and nurturing positive aspects of civilization and of the Christian faith, and then eventually approaching the world with moral truth and good culture."
Really? I don't necessarily think so. The Benedict Option typically means keeping a critical eye on the culture, recognizing that the culture has taken turns that cannot be reconciled with Christianity, at least Christianity in any meaningful sense of the word. Retreat from the world? I don't think so - the position does not require the creation of alternative self-sustaining communities. What it requires is that one positions one's religion as the lens through which reality is interpreted and upon which actions are based, with a sagious reflection upon the culture, such that one recognizes irreconciliable dichotomies and maintains the integrity to leave one's faith uncompromised. 

Oh, but it gets better:
"The “David Option” would be inspired by the shepherd-king who fought the giant Goliath. In the Old Testament narrative, Goliath was overwhelming, violent, offensive, and an immanent threat to the Israelites.
The young King David did not succumb to fear and did not seclude himself in the Israelite camp. He engaged the Philistine. David was dressed simply, without armor or regular weaponry. He was empowered by a sense of righteousness and justice, and artfully struck the head of Goliath with simple stones from the earth claiming victory over the giant."
.....David killed Golaith...that's it...kill, murder, violence, an offensive action...not to be crass, but that must be some pretty crazy opium the author was smoking.

...but it gets better:
"Drawing from this example of the Israelite leader, the David Option is a challenge and opportunity for the Church in the contemporary world. In imitation of the shepherd-king, it calls the Church to simplicity, having neither ornate, royal attire or defensive armor."
Okay...David was a king. We have a pretty good idea of what kings (who exercised a ceremonial and military function) wore. He would have worn both ornate vestments and defensive armor in his life.

"It summons the Church to stay focused on holiness and to engage the world with a genuine spirit of justice and goodness, not ideology, power lust, or political agenda."

Has this guy actually read these books? David is an interesting character study, with a good dose of power lust and political agenda in his life time.
"Symbolically, the David Option compels the Church to use “stones” in the “head” of the goliaths of our age; namely, to use reason and respectful arguments as a means for the intellectual conversion of culture."
That is a pretty big leap there, buddy, want to lay down a basis for your post-modern anagogy?

"Fideism, heavy theological systems, rash moral judgment, hubris, isolationism, and similar spirits and approaches have no place in the David Option. There is no room for a remnant in this option. It clearly exemplifies the proper place of the Church within the human family, especially when moral truth is questioned and neglected and times seem dark."
David was a King. His context was a theocratic monarchy. He actually killed someone, was involved in the conspiracy to remove his predecessor from power, committed adultery, had someone else killed to cover up his act, etc.

I don't know if I'm willing to throw my hat in with the Benedict Option, but Mr. Dreher's idea has little in the way of competition from mainstream Catholicism, especially if this drivel is the best it can do. 

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