Loneliness, Rural College Students, and More

Photo by George W. Ackerman

It’s been a busy first week on the remodeled porch, and we have an excellent lineup of new essays coming next week. For now, though, here are some of the Porcher-related stories we’ve been reading. If you have additional essays to recommend, please link to them in the comments.

The Loneliness Epidemic.” On Point interviews several “experts” about how bad loneliness is—apparently it’s worse for your health than smoking or obesity. Apparently, designing a culture around autonomous individualism has, as the economists like to say, externalities.

Where the Small-Town American Dream Lives On.” This long essay describing life in Orange City, Iowa came out last fall. I enjoyed reading it then, so when Porcher David Bosworth recommended it this week, I thought it merited mention here.

Who’s Missing From America’s Colleges? Rural High School Graduates.” Rural students aren’t going to college. Maybe they shouldn’t, at least until colleges start offering an education that might help them return home. (Recommended by Jack Baker.)

Integration from Within.” Adrian Vermeule reviews Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed over at American Affairs. He largely agrees with Deneen’s diagnosis, but he isn’t so sure that front porches represent a viable way out of liberalism.

Eating toward Shalom: Why Food Ethics Matters for the 21st-Century Church.” Matthew Halteman makes a theological and philosophical argument for why we should think about our eating habits: “Theoretically, someone seeking to eat mindfully aspires to live toward the biblical ideal of shalom—the peaceful state of holistic flourishing that is portrayed first in Eden and last on the holy mountain of the prophet Isaiah’s vision of a fully redeemed world. In practice, such a person strives faithfully if always imperfectly to live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly in a world where excessive, unreflective consumption of the standard American diet increasingly seems unjust, unmerciful, and extravagant. The goal is not to attain personal purity but rather to provide glimmers of shalom, however humble, in whatever places we serve.”

A Quiet, Ancestral Farm Life in Western France.” This is a beautiful series of photos taken on a French farm that still relies on ox-power. (Recommended by Gracy Olmstead.)

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