Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saturday Good Reads

It’s the political season. Actually, it’s the election season. The political season is no longer seasonal but omnipresent. 

In 1862, Nathaniel Hawthorne traveled to Washington, D.C., to interview civilian and military leaders, and like all good writers everywhere, he wrote about what he saw and experienced, in this case for The Atlantic. He included editorial asides that anticipated conflicts with his editor. Who would have thought that the author of The Scarlett Letter and The House of Seven Gables had a sense of humor?

The Missouri statehood crisis that led to the Compromise of 1820
We’re seeing more and more stories about American historical periods when the country was so divided politically that violence often erupted. Two recent articles at The Imaginative Conservative, with different periods in mind are examples. John Horvat considers America’s descent into uncivil war. Bradley Birzer, author of a new biography of Andrew Jackson, looks at the 1810s and 1820s (that so-called “Era of Good Feeling”).

Contributing to this polarization is the belief that the people who disagree with us politically must hate us. Zak Schmoll, writing at Entering the Public Square, takes that on in “Why We Believe Our Political Opponents Hate Us.” (Confession time: I wondered this week if the Antifa people disrupting traffic, attacking cars, and threatening people in downtown Portland, while the police looked on, would happily send people like me to the Gulag.) (Actually, I was less concerned about the Antifa people and more concerned about the police merely looking on.)

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is fundamentally changing a lot of things, one of which is the Republican Party and what it means to be a “conservative.” This story has largely been missed by the media, which tends to focus (at best) on how Trump is forcing Republicans to get in line behind him. According to George Mason University law professor F.H. Buckley, Trump is completely redefining the word “conservative.” No wonder Bill Kristol, George Will, and Michael Gerson foam at the mouth every time Trump's name is mentioned.

Rod Dreher at The American Conservative has been writing extensively about what’s known as “The Benedict Option,” the subject of his recent book which is about how (conservative) Christians can live and even thrive in an increasingly hostile secular culture. Now author Leah Libresco has written a book on practical tips for the Benedict Option, and Jake Meader at Mere Orthodoxy has a review (he likes it). 

Two thoughtful articles on Christians and the arts posted this week were “Christian Art as General Revelation” by Mike Duran and “A Distinctively Christian Appreciation of the Arts” by Matthew Capps. Both are well worth reading. 

More Good Reads


Joseph Seamon Carter

Lord, Sky – Betsy Sholl at Image Journal.

Joseph Seamon Carter – D.S. Martin at Kingdom Poets.

G.K. Chesterton’s “A Ballade of Suicide” – Titus Techera at The Imaginative Conservative.

As Weak – Doug McKelvey at The Rabbit Room.


Death in the City – Sharon James at Tabletalk.

We Don’t Need to Go Back to the Early Church – J.A. Medders at For the Church.

Are you becoming more or less of an encourager? – Jordan Standridge at The Cripplegate.

Practical Help for Journaling as a Discipline – Michelle Morin at Living the Word.

Life and Culture

8 Rules of Social Media Wisdom – Thomas Kidd at The Gospel Coalition cites the practices of Alan Jacobs.

Art and Photography

Louis Obert Monument, New St. Marcus Cemetery – Chris Naffziger at St. Louis Patina.

Prairie Bluff – Tim Good at Photography by Tiwago.

Writing and Literature

My Musical Antonia – John Check at The Weekly Standard.

A Time to Write – Rachelle Gardner.

British Stuff

The Crowning of a King 1066 – Two Views – Helen Hollick at English Historical Fiction Authors.

Hill Country Farming – Rangitkei, New Zealand

Painting: A Man Reading by Hans Memling (1485); Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

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