I was going to title this post, “Forget the Benedict Option, Embrace the Pietist Option!” But then I realized that by exhorting you to ignore Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” I was not acting in a manner befitting a Pietist. (Sorry, I am a work in progress!)
Yesterday I got two books in the mail: Joanna Bourke’s 2006 tome Fear: A Cultural History and Chris Gehrz’s and Mark Pattie’s The Pietist Option: Hope for the Renewal of Christianity. One book is (as the title suggests) about fear. The other book is about hope. I have been reading Bourke today, but have had Gehrz and Pattie nearby so I have something to turn to if I get overly depressed.
I read The Pietist Option in manuscript and was encouraged by it. When InterVarsity Press asked me to endorse it, I immediately said yes! Here is what appears on the back cover:
Not all the readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home will be interested in this new book. I know many of you are not religious or people of faith. If you fall into this category, I want to encourage you to read The Pietist Option anyway. Gehrz (a Yale-trained historian) and Pattie (a Christian pastor) offer a way of thinking about Christianity that you might find appealing. Other readers of this blog come from Christian traditions that do not give primary attention to Pietism. Fair enough. But I still think you should read the book. All Christian traditions could use a dose of something akin to Pietism.
I was reading some of The Pietist Option to my sixteen-year-old daughter last night. (I managed to get her attention between Snapchats, texts, and AP U.S. history homework). Here are a few of the snippets I read to her:
“If we’re seeking after renewal, it’s got to start with you and me confessing how we’ve failed to love God and to love our neighbors.”
“The Pietist option calls Christians back to the motivations and actions of the Servant who stooped to wash his disciples feet.”
“Our world needs a new narrative to unite us in spirit and mission, to provide us a hopeful pathway to pursue together.”
She did not tell me to stop, so I guess that is a good sign. 🙂