Prayer and Action or Action and Prayer

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” Mother Teresa
Some Christian traditions–or just individual Christians–emphasize prayer and contemplation along with Christian action. Others emphasize action along with prayer and contemplation.
In no tradition–and I would hope, with no individual Christian–is either mode of expressing our faith exclusive. It’s a matter of emphasis.
I was struck by this point while reading Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option. In the chapter about the monks of Norcia, Dreher talks about how their days are structured around prayer, then work. Continue reading “Prayer and Action or Action and Prayer”

Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option: A Review

“[T]he Benedict Option is a call to undertaking the long and patient work of reclaiming the real world from the artifice, alienation, and atomization of modern life. It is a way of seeing the world and of living in the world that undermines modernity’s big lie: that humans are nothing more than ghosts in a machine, and we are free to adjust the settings in any way we like.” Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (236).

If you’re a Christian, don’t read this book unless you are truly willing to face the deep realities that Rod Dreher presents within its pages.

But if you are a Christian, you really should read this book.

It will move you to change your life.

And you will find it is not the same book some critics have described.

The Benedict Option is not a call for the faithful to cloister ourselves in a monastery or don white robes and sit on a mountaintop awaiting the Apocalypse.

Dreher calls us to a more focused faith walk, to “be the church, without compromise, no matter what it costs” (3, emphasis Dreher’s).

He calls us to a deeper prayer life. A life steeped in community with other faithful Christians. A life that looks very different from the lives many of us lead–pursuit of consumerism and busy-ness with splashes of church sprinkled between. Continue reading “Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option: A Review”

Do Christians really want to help?

A reader on niume.com responds to my recent post about Congress proposing a cut to the Meals on Wheels program:
“What will happen with medicaid? Are churches ready and able to serve the people who depend on this program as well? Half of all medicaid dollars go to help the elderly and disabled who need long-term care. If medicaid no longer is available to pay for these folks to stay in nursing homes, are churches and Christians going to step up to provide this care? If so, I suggest they start with the thousands upon thousands of disabled people who are waiting for medicaid waivers to become available in each state across our nation. In Kentucky alone, there are 7,000 people on the waiting list for the Michelle P. waiver, a medicaid waiver that serves individuals with developmental disabilities like autism. I keep hearing from the Christian community about these great opportunities for service, but in my mind I am thinking they don’t want to do it. If they did, they would already be doing it because unmet needs are tremendous.”
That critique is a bit stinging. Probably so stinging because it is so true.
We have gotten used to government having programs to fix problems. We forget that government fixing problems often makes them worse. We forget that government isn’t tasked with solving these problems–meeting these needs. We are.
Where to begin? First, we work to overcome the isolation that is so prevalent today. Continue reading “Do Christians really want to help?”