From a reader:
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what many today are calling “The Benedict Option,” though that’s not the name under which I first heard it. My first exposure was this post, “Back to Qumran.” I have been in the shadows of what some call the Prepper Movement for some time (preparing for the future just makes sense to me) so the idea of a “prepper’s retreat” was well known to me, but a retreat for the express purpose of religious and cultural continuance and strengthening was a new twist. I think it may be one of the key aspects of preparing for future persecution – build communities now, unplug our children now. When the storm hits, it will be too late. And when the storm hits, I think a vast majority of the “Christian” edifice in America will crumble.
I saw an article the other day rightly pointing out some of the advantages of renting, rather than purchasing, your home. Conversation on the advantages of renting over owning seem to have increased of late, and the points they bring up are valid. Aaron Clarey, in his book Bachelor Pad Economics, gives a succinct run-down.
However, almost all of these analysis specifically focus on suburban home ownership. Many of the issues, including skyrocketing property taxes, drastic property value decline due to urban ex-migration, decreasing safety, etc. are issues that are almost exclusive to suburban areas. The answer then, is not so much “don’t buy” as it is “don’t buy suburban.”
Rural life offers significant advantages over suburban life. Buying rural land is one of the best moves you can make. Rural land is often inexpensive–get as large a plot as you can. Make sure there’s a couple of good tillable acres for vegetables. Try to get a little woods for hunting and heating. If you can find a place that includes some water as well you are golden.
Now, I want to answer one objection right away. You’re not a farmer, you have a normal job. You have to drive to work every day, and living in the boonies makes that drive uncomfortably long. And why plant vegetables when you can just go to the supermarket?
Well, Christian, when the storm hits you are going to lose your good job.
It’s not if, it is when. If you haven’t come to terms with that, you need to do so now. It could be because your a Christian, or it could be because of economic factors. Both happened in Soviet Russia. When it happens, you want to be more than ready. That’s why you’re going to plant vegetables. That’s why you’re going to make sure you can hunt. That’s why you want to own your own (rural) land.
Some of you are noticing that I keep using the word “land,” and are wondering if I am recommending you buy property that does not already have a house on it. Yes, I am. I recommend you pull the permits yourself, and build your own (small) house. 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a nice size kitchen and living area is all you need. Now, someone is thinking “I’m going to have 10 kids, how am I going to live in a 2-bedroom house?”
Let’s say that you have 1 kid right now that is 1 year old, you have your next child in 1 year, and you continue to have a child every second year until you have 10. Since you can easily fit 3 young children in one room (a bunk bed + a crib), you don’t need any more space for a little over 4 years. 4 years is way more than enough time to build a bunkhouse a few feet away from the main house, and that is a far better option than building excess rooms to start with. For 4 years you are saving on heating costs by not heating an extra room, and saving on property taxes. Even after you build the bunkhouse, you will still save on property taxes, as outbuildings without bathrooms are generally taxed at a lower rate per square foot. If you put an exterior door on one of your bathrooms, the kids can trot over to it just like it was an outhouse without having to walk through the entire house.
Now that you have less neighbors (due to being rural), you can engage each of them more thoroughly. Help them with various projects. Hire their kids to help you hoe your vegetables. Live the Christian life faithfully, remembering that a properly ordered family preaches the gospel far more effectively than all the sermons in the world. Build the community that you want to be a part of.
And when the storm that is brewing hits the full force of its fury, you will be prepared.