In Dialogue with a “Paleocon”

In Rod Dreher I have found a fellow pilgrim who is grappling with many of the same issues which motivate me to blog, to be a pastor, and to pursue doctoral studies in philosophy and theology. In so many ways it can be summarized under the label of "political theology."

See this insightful, relevant post on Rod’s blog.

Here are some comments I made to his post:

Rod and others,

I need to educate myself more with respect to the "Benedictine option," however, I am persuaded of a couple of things which (I am willing to bet) are utterly consistent wtih it:

1. The center of the Benedictine communities was the Eucharist. Eucharistic theology has all the resources needed to address the issue of how the church can "lead" in this individualistic, materialistic, consumeristic, narcissistic, nihilistic culture in which we live. Put another way, we must ultimately resist all secular means and tactics, including participation in "the culture wars." To the resources of the Eucharist is where we must look for answers, and for Christ’s approach to civilization building.

2. I understand that there are wonderful metaphysical and moral roots in "paleoconservatism" (Burke’s insistence that economic / political / social order rests on a fundamental moral / metaphysical order), however, I still think that at the end of the day "conservatism" and "liberalism" are both secular and therefore ideological (and perhaps even distinctively modern) half-truths. This is consistent with such theological thinkers as NT Wright and John Milbank (who, as the founder of "Radical Orthodoxy," interprets Alisdair MacIntrye in a way that is consistent with what I am suggesting here).

Why hold on to the (secular) label "conservative?" St. Paul’s gospel, I am convinced, is a true tertium quid which defies the false dichotomy of liberal versus conservative.

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