“Is there a lesson here for Christians? Should they take what might be called the “Benedict Option”: communal withdrawal from the mainstream, for the sake of sheltering one’s faith and family from corrosive modernity and cultivating a more traditional way of life?”

That’s how Rod Dreher has defined the “Benedict Option,” which he has been discussing over the past few years. In this episode, we take up the question of how Christians should respond to modernity:  should we withdraw or not, and in what way?

We’re joined by special guests Jake Meador (of Mere-O Notes fame!) and Matthew Loftus, both of whom have contributed regularly here at Mere-O.  Give it a listen.

The iTunes feed for Mere Fidelity is here if you’d like to subscribe (thanks to everyone who has reviewed us so kindly), and an RSS feed for the show lives here.

Special thanks to MK Creative Arts for the audio editing.

Finally, as always, follow Derek, Jake, and Matthew for more tweet-sized brilliance.


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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. […] This week’s Mere Fidelity podcast has just gone online. I am taking a break from Mere Fidelity for a few weeks, until I return to more regular online activity at the beginning of October. However, Jake Meador and Matthew Loftus ably step in to take the place of Andrew Wilson and me and have many smart and stimulating things to say on the subject of the ‘Benedict option’. The ‘Benedict option’ is outlined in this Rod Dreher piece. […]


  2. Interesting discussion, but I wonder why it has to be one or the other. It seems there may some times/situations where seclusion is completely appropriate, and others where it is used as a way of hiding from the ways God would want to use us in larger society. I see examples of both in Scripture. The key would be to avoid locking ourselves into one “right” way to do things, but to be in a continuous fellowship with God that allows him to guide us into and out of those places.


  3. […] at Mere Fidelity, a primarily reformed theology podcast associated with the website Mere Orthodoxy, the gentlemen […]


  4. I have observed for some time , and with horror, the growing anti-Christian stance of the whole of contemporary culture. But I only stumbled upon this phrase “the Benedict Option” today. Without even knowing it I started out upon a withdrawal from the toxic surrounding culture by refraining from contact with the media, so loaded is it with anti-Christian messages. So I suppose in my own orthodox protestant Christian way I have started aspects of the option. It all sound very good to me, as all orthodox Christians must, in these times, draw deeply upon the roots of our shared ancient faith. Let the Glory be to God.


  5. I recently finished the book Finding the Monk Within that gives a brief bio on several of the Desert Fathers. I just stumbled upon the term Benedict Option just a few days ago. I am not sure that an attempt at full withdraw is the answer (although it may be for some). I believe that we need to find a way to live our lives fully set apart from Christ but still active in our communities. Even if we try to withdraw completely sin will find its way in. We need to find a way to live in our lin our communities with glaring proof we are living for Christ.


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