Rarely do I read a book that leaves me saying “Amen” after every sentence. More amazing is the fact that this book, while it does deal with Christian thought and living, resides in the Politics section of your average secular bookstore. So dead-on accurate is the content, though, that I’m considering starting a new category of Essential Reading in my sidebar just to house it.
Long-time readers know that I take great care to avoid bringing politics into this blog. But this book is not so much a tome on politics as it is on living a sacramental lifestyle that goes beyond the glitz and gloss of modern-day Evangelicalism in America to a new vision of life that is truly ancient.
The book?by Rod Dreher.
Dreher’s released one for the ages. In fact, this book is so good that I’m hacked off at him for writing it because what he’s penned is the next book I had planned to write (although mine was aimed more squarely at the Church).
The gist of this book explores a little-known tribe living in the United States: Political conservatives, usually Evangelical Christians, who are dropping out of the rat race by going back to traditional ways of life that existed in pre-Industrial-Revolution America. Anyone who’s caught my epic The Christian & the Business World series is well-acquainted with my views on the dire need for Christians to rise up and question our lifestyles, the non-stop, community-destroying, materialistic live-for-today zeitgeist we’ve adopted indiscriminantly.
As the subtitle proclaims, the book gathers under its wings the disenfranchised out there who firmly believe that conserving the family unit, better stewarding creation, restoring genuine community, and overseeing local market economies by restoring America’s agrarian heritage, will recapture the essence of what it means to live a full life that honors God, family, neighbor, and country.
Weeping is not my normal reaction to reading anything, but this book has so far uncorked a torrent in me. And while too many Christians in America brush all this off as utopian nonsense—even as they adjust the volume on their latest in a string of iPods and munch on genetically-modified tasteless veggies—I’m imploring readers of this book to check it out, if only for the first few chapters.
Despite the finale of the subtitle, I’m personally not interested in saving the Republican Party, but I am for saving conservative values—even if truly conservative values look more like some of the elements of the Left than the Right. The kind of conservativism championed by Edmund Burke in no way bears any resemblance to the “free-markets-at-any-cost” stupidity we see enshrined by today’s GOP, but that’s okay. If enough of us drop out of the prevailing societal madness, someone will notice and want to court our vote.
Though Dreher’s beaten me to the punch, I know that you know I’ve been talking these points for a while, so in concert with my reading of Crunchy Cons, I’ll be starting a series called “Unshackling the American Church” that will further examine many of the issues I’ve touched on at Cerulean Sanctum, ideas that dovetail with Dreher’s book.
Stay tuned. I promise a mind—and possibly soul—altering ride.
Other posts in the “Unshackling the American Church” series:
- “Unshackling the American Church” Series Announcement
- Unshackling the American Church: The Tyranny of Modernism
- Unshackling the American Church: The Sacramental
- Unshackling the American Church: Treasuring the Creator’s Handiwork
- Unshackling the American Church: Cultivating Essential Beauty
- Unshackling the American Church: Fraternitas
- Unshackling the American Church: Mammon