“Unshackling the American Church” Series Announcement


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.Rod Dreher's Crunchy Cons

The book? Crunchy Cons 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:

12 thoughts on ““Unshackling the American Church” Series Announcement

  1. *looks at birks on feet and stares out window at garden*…. hrm… you got my curiosity piqued. 😀 *starts reloading more shells*…….

  2. Hmmm I’ve heard that term before, but hadn’t seen the book that inspired it. I think my girl friend, best friend and myself may be going somewhat crunchy.

    This actually is a big point of consideration as far as the food business because “organic” is becoming a really huge industry.

    • Pavel,

      Yeah, we have an organic fruit farm and we’re a bit unhappy to see that WalMart is jumping into organic with both feet, already driving down prices to the point that it’s almost break-even for organic farmers.

      I’m with Dreher–food co-ops are the way to go in the long run. I wish one existed in my area, though. Despite having plenty of farm country all over the state, Ohio’s not the swiftest to adopt those kinds of trends (or return to them, since co-ops were once common long ago).

        • AlieraKeiron,

          Ohio has the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (oeffa.com) that tracks these things, but our area is particularly devoid of CSA adherents. There are only three such farms in a four county area, and none in my county!

          We might go that way with our farm, but it’ll be a few years till our trees are big enough to produce usable fruit.

          Thanks for asking. We’re actually going to go to one of those farms today, so I’ll let you know.

  3. 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.

    Oh Dan, you may be stirring the pot a little too forcefully for some but I give you a hearty Amen!

  4. Doug

    I have bought no fewer than four copies of this book – one for me, one for my pastor, one for my old seminary friend cum charter school principal, and one for my roommate. My biggest beef (pun intended) with the book is its title – it covers so much more ground than just in-house discussions of what “conservatism” is. It’s more about how to live a holistic life based on transcendent principles in an age that doesn’t make much room for that – and how such a life crosses “liberal-conservative” boundaries. If you can create a catchy title out of that, I’ll buy you a microbrew.

    I also highly recommend the blog that is based on this book – it’s closed now, but the archives are a gold mine of related discussion and articles…

  5. Hello, Dan. I read the Ron’s book too, not too long ago. It was very interesting, although there were a few spots I thought needed some editing down in order to be more concise. And, by the way, I even read Edmund Burke, who had a very erudite and dense style, so it wasn’t easy going. And I agree with you: “free-markets-at-any-cost” isn’t what I would call conservatism; it’s more like “let-us-pave-over-everything-now-and-make-our-grandchildren-bear-the-cost-of-our-greedy-stupidity-and-shortsightedness”.

    Whenever someone says he is a “conservative”, I always ask “what exactly is it that you seek to conserve?”

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