The Rule of Benedict (written by Benedict of Nursia c. 480-547) calls us to be strangers to the actions of this age. What does this mean? It means living according to an infrastructure of values and beliefs not dictated by the ambient culture. For Christians and Jews, this infrastructure is derived from a personal covenant relationship with God. As people of God (who is love), we learn that what lies outside of our covenant relationship is not good for us. It is very much like a marriage. This does not mean we reject the world completely; it means we filter our experiences through the prism of God’s love to discern what is good and what is not.
Although a certain detachment from worldly values defines us, our identity rests more in what and who we are in love with; the one thing necessary. It is a positive process of gravitating toward goodness, primarily, which also happens to involve a natural moving away from what is not good. In this way, we become strangers to the actions of this age.