Here's the Comment I wrote in response:
The more I hear about the Benedict Option, the more I am suspicious. Particularly, the heuristic value for recapitulating a history. Benedict going out in the woods, and forming a community, on account of the Fall of Rome and invasion of “barbarians equals losing the culture wars and moral degeneracy?
Consider the fact that during the lifetime of the Apostles is considered one of the high-water marks of Roman cultural immorality. It was the age of the Julio-Claudians (i.e. Caligula and Nero), Ovid, Great Mother and Dionysiac cults. Augustus had to pretend to be a family man and passed many of his family-laws and moral regulations because of the mores of the era. Yet where were the Apostles hiding?
It’s also funny to note that the barbarians who conquered Rome were Arian Germans, not the “Lavender Mafia”, the “Feminazis”, or the Kardashians. Dreher sounds like Jerome when he wept for the fall of Rome. He had no idea how the gospel would survive without the Empire.
I am all for a call to discipleship, distance, and spiritual growth, but that’s not because of the times but because that is what the Church is about. As you pointed out, William Temple said it well. Dreher still sounds a lot like a Neuhaus kind of Roman Catholic, despite jumping ship.
The Church in America has lived through eras of chattel slavery, wage-slavery, American Indian extermination, Jim Crow, robber barons, global empire building, red panics, the 60’s, etc etc. I think the Church can survive this too.