Aleteia has profiled several organizations Rod Dreher sees as good examples of his "Benedict Option." Anselm is one of them!
A community of a different sort, which Dreher also upholds as a kind of Benedictine Option model, is the Anselm Society, a project of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Collaborating with other churches in the area, Anselm sponsors public education and supports artists, all in hopes of engendering a “renaissance of the Christian imagination.”
“Over and over, we see that the biggest problem in even the healthiest churches here, where kids are being raised well in the faith, is that the rhythms of kids’ lives are not being shaped by anything related to Church,” said executive director Brian Brown. “They’re being shaped by the rat race, by the constant pressure to get the kid into college, whatever it may be. We have ‘liturgies’ that are formed by checking our smartphone for Facebook every hour, that are far more formative than the liturgy of our religion that’s supposed to be the center of our lives.”
One way the Anselm Society hopes to help change that is by “creating the next generation of Christian art and literature, the notion of having shared stories or art or music that’s a product of your tradition and your community that says something about who you are and teaches the next generation of who you are,” Brown said.
And while Alasdair MacIntyre has become a sort of patron saint of the Benedict Option, the Anselm Society’s Brian Brown identified someone from an earlier age who predicted such a movement might take place: the English poet T. S. Eliot. In his 1937 work The Idea of a Christian Society, Eliot looked at the choice between pretending that nothing has changed since the Middle Ages and completely conforming to the world around you. “He said the way forward it neither of these,” Brown said. “The way forward has to be finding a third option that recognizes the realities around it but still manages to hold fast to what matters most to its traditions.
“That’s kind of the line we’re trying to walk, challenging people to organize their lives around things that really matter,” Brown said. "Someone who’s a 10-year-old now is going to be raised in a different church environment than his parents were, valuing different things, understanding his tradition better, and having a better ability to be a better steward of the institutional legacy.”
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