Luma Simms is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; her essays, articles, and book reviews have appeared in a variety of publications including National Affairs, Law and Liberty, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, First Things, Public Discourse, the Institute for Family Studies, and others.

The Benedict Option Can't Save Your Faith or Family

I’d been grinding my own wheat flour for two years by the time I read Rod Dreher’s “Crunchy Cons” in 2006. A friend had given it to me because of my, shall we say, “Benedict Option” lifestyle. Winter red wheat berries are the best for bread baking, while the soft white ones produce a fine, velvety pastry flour—a tip for those interested in that route.

Life is a tale told through talk, taste, and touch. It is memory and destiny at once. A Christian might say it is death and resurrection, if you give your life you keep it. So before we get to Dreher’s new book, “The Benedict Option,” let me a little of my story.

Watching the President Clinton impeachment trial years ago changed my life. Sensing a call to do what I could for my country, I let go of my dreams of a quiet life in academia and went off to law school. I sought out mentoring by great constitutional law professors so I would eventually contribute to bringing the judiciary back to constitutional originalism.

By the time I was in my second year in law school, my life was unravelling. Law school is brutal. It is even more so for those who are married with families. Our culture can be a meat grinder, and battling it in the front lines of federal courts is even bloodier. I couldn’t have it all, and I couldn’t do it all. So I chose my family. This began a trajectory of increasing retreat and insularity that would lead to me (religiously) grinding my own wheat and policing my children’s speech for what I deemed to be affirmations of worldly popular culture.

Read the rest of the review at The Federalist

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