Speaking Freely in Times of Crisis: A Conversation with Paul Kemeny, Ben Faber, and...

Examining, with Paul Kemeny, Richard Gamble, and Ben Faber, fraught moments in history where questions about communication and censorship, politics and propaganda, freedom and government intervention came to a head. What might we learn from such moments?

“Oh, Wow.” A Benediction for Ed McClanahan

Immortality might not last forever. But I contend that Ed will—through his words and through the lives of those he touched with his generosity and his grace. All of which leads, to a simple blessing, a benediction. “Oh, wow.”

Columbiana: In Want of Cram

Neither Columbiana nor Sewickley perfectly realize the role of Cram’s ideal walled town, but Sewickley comes much closer. While not perfect, it offers a real-world example of an economically vibrant, urban community.

The Contradictions within My Students’ Request for Diverse Curricula

The imagined student’s intentions are honorable: to promote racial justice. But when the conversation begins, she has already set herself against the teacher and the course. The task of the teacher is to encourage her pursuit of justice while showing that the Great Books are not enemies, but allies. If this can be done, the student and teacher may even realize the same about each other.

The Hidden Life of Ignatius J. Reilly

John Kennedy Toole denies Ignatius such a happy ending, subverting the traditional redemption narrative. In so doing, he arguably gives us a better portrait of what life actually tends to be like.

Ted Lasso and the Temptation of “Aww, Shucks” Idealism

Is there an alternative to the Ted Lasso cynicism-versus-optimism dichotomy, an alternative that recognizes human limitations but nonetheless offers hope? I might start with becoming attentive enough to our ignorance, and expectant enough of our own mistakes that we not overshoot the scale of what we’re trying to do.

A Case for the Prairie: Taliesin & the Jerusalem of Weird

I had seen the worst of America: the brittle surface of “good design” shattered by rage, and the reverse snobbery of the rest of America. Still, I wasn’t about to permit myself a trip like this, with such visual and emotional assault, without some kind of further insurance.

Hunting and the Body of Christ

As we come to the supper table to feast upon pheasant breast or the backstrap of a whitetail deer, we gain an inkling of that invitation to the true Table of Hospitality, where the Lord looks upon us lovingly despite our attack upon him.

P.D. James’ Children of Men and Modern Parenting

I didn’t intend to welcome two children into an era marked by so much bleakness and turmoil. With James’s help, I’ve remembered that there is no project more local, no gift more world-changing, than the calling of parenthood.

Spiritual Secession: A Conversation with Paul Kingsnorth

" None of your readers need me to tell them that the useful work is practical, particular, small and careful: to get away from screens as much as we can, get close to the woods, get close to God, get close to real community. All of the small, old things. Build networks of grounded reality that are not entangled in the wires of the technium. Forge independence."

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From the Archives

It’s a Wonderful Film

It wasn’t enough for George to stay in Bedford Falls and do the right thing; he needed to choose which values to embrace and which to reject.

Time and Place in Eugene Vodolazkin’s Imagination

We occupants of the Porch can profitably read Vodolazkin in light of our own concern to acknowledge human limitations and find ways to live well and more fully in our own communities.

Of “That Great Furnace, the Heart of Dickens”

A perennial question in this season: which version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol to watch? Somehow I can’t seem to muster much interest in any of...