Dr. R. Jared Staudt, PhD
Director of Content

Acedia and Its Discontents: Exodus’s Summer Book Study

This summer Exodus will be exploring the ups and downs of King David’s reign in the book of Second Samuel in the Kings of Summer exercise. David loses sight of his duties, falling into a spiritual malaise or sloth, called acedia by the Desert Fathers. In his pride, David succumbs to sin, most significantly in his adultery with Bathsheba. He has to learn the hard way to stay attentive to his duties to God and his family as a shepherd and father. 

As we follow the steps of King David in our daily reflections, we’ll also be doing a book study. This will help us to go a bit deeper into the nature of acedia and how we can overcome it in our lives and culture. We’ll be meeting live, every other week, reading through and discussing Dr. R.J. Snell’s Acedia and Its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire. Here is a description of the book:

“While the term acedia may be unfamiliar, the vice, usually translated as sloth, is all too common. Sloth is not mere laziness, however, but a disgust with reality, a loathing of our call to be friends with God, and a spiteful hatred of place and life itself. As described by Josef Pieper, the slothful person does not ‘want to be as God wants him to be, and that ultimately means he does not wish to be what he really, fundamentally is.’ Sloth is a hellish despair. Our own culture is deeply infected, choosing a destructive freedom rather than the good work for which God created us. Acedia and Its Discontents resists despair, calling us to reconfigure our imaginations and practices in deep love of the life and work given by God. By feasting, keeping sabbath, and working well, we learn to see the world as enchanting, beautiful, and good—just as God sees it.”

We will meet every other Tuesday at Noon EST starting on May 30th and will read about 25 pages for each discussion. Feel free to join in whether you’ve done the reading or not, as you can always share your thoughts on the ideas we’re discussing. We will share a link to join live or you can always watch the recording afterward. 

The book study will be a great way to meet other Exodus Men to share insights on the spiritual life. We’ll be standing strong as brothers against acedia this summer, staying vigilant and continuing to grow, even as we enjoy some well-deserved downtime.

Dr. Staudt serves as Director of Content for Exodus and as an Instructor for the Lay Division of St. John Vianney Seminary. He is the author of How the Eucharist Can Save Civilization (TAN), Restoring Humanity: Essays on the Evangelization of Culture (Divine Providence Press) and The Beer Option: Brewing a Catholic Culture Yesterday & Today (Angelico Press). He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Ave Maria University and B.A. and M.A. in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN). He and wife, Anne, have six children and he is a Benedictine oblate.