Retrenchment: Christian Defense of Permanent Things
Christianity is a Permanent Thing; this work is about how Christians should defend Christianity and other Permanent Things in an increasingly hostile civilization. It is a continuation of the dialogue of Schaeffer, MacIntyre, Moore and Dreher and owes much to Eliot, Yeats and Kirk for inspiration.
No book or idea stands alone, we all stand on the shoulders of giants and this is no exception. Herein I offer a contribution to the Benedictine approach to the dilemma Christianity faces of an increasingly post-Christian and perhaps potentially anti-Christian civilization.
In our era, these concepts were first articulated in 1981 by Francis August Schaeffer, in A Christian Manifesto and Alasdair MacIntyre in After Virtue describing in detail the problems so eloquently penned by W.B. Yeats in 1919. Hoppe furthered the discussion in 2001 by pointing out the failure of Western Ideology and its implications. Others have since written on the subject, Lee Strang in 2006 called for a legal scholar to rise as a St. Benedict, Russell Moore offered an optimistic way ahead in 2015. Rod Dreher codified the idea in The Benedict Option into a realistic and workable concept in 2017. At the heart of it, all of these efforts have approached the idea of Christianity as a Permanent thing and wondered how Christians might defend permanent things in a changing world.
Individuals like Mike Church, denied employment for standing upon principles, are living Benedictine lives, seeking to pursue their vocation in alternate ways and to make a difference. There are others, groups, and individuals. This offering owes to the intellectual and vocational efforts of others, their examples and their dedication.
Retrenchment addresses three areas, the individual, local church and local community and discusses the problems we in Christianity have traditionally faced that prevent cooperation and love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a less optimistic book that Dreher’s, things have progressed perhaps faster than could have been imagined in the two years since his book was written. I suspect others will write even less optimistic books in the years to come, things will get worse before they get better. But, there are things we can and should be doing.
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Hope and the Future23
Pressures from Inside and Out36
Things Christians Got Wrong in the Cultural War50
Battles We Should Fight66
We Need a Benedict and perhaps several105 Secession108
What You Can Do Today125
The Calhoun Institute137 Works Cited138