“Evoking a Life of Shalom.” Allan F. Brooke II reviews FPR’s recent book Telling the Stories Right: Wendell Berry’s Imagination of Port William, concluding:
Telling the Stories Right collects a broad variety of well-written musings on Berry’s fiction. Some are deeply academic, others profoundly personal. At their best, though, each of the twelve essays demand a re-reading of the fiction. Like the best preaching—in which the aim is to turn the hearer back to the Word, and to the God who speaks it—these compositions point us back to the source material.
“Green and Pleasant Land.” Verlyn Klinkenborg reviews four recent agricultural books and considers the enduring tensions in American farming (Recommended by Gracy Olmstead):
In America—thanks to its abundance of land—there have always been two kinds of farmers: movers and improvers. Movers were the ones who farmed out the fertility in a patch of ground and then moved along to the next patch. This is more or less how America was settled. Improvers were the ones who did everything they could to preserve and increase the fertility of their soil.
“Let’s Bring Back the Sabbath as a Radical Act against ‘Total Work’.” William Black ponders the profound wisdom of the Sabbath: “When taken seriously, the Sabbath has the power to restructure not only the calendar but also the entire political economy.”
“In North Carolina, Losses of Nearly 2 Million Birds and 26 Flooded Lagoons Reported.” H. Claire Brown surveys what we know so far of the effects Florence is having on farmers. It’s not pretty, and updated estimates suggest the damage is growing worse.
“Conservatism After Christianity.” Ross Douthat considers the gap between church-going Republicans and what he terms a “post-religious right.”
“Standing Up to Tyranny.” Daniel J. Mahoney reviews a new collection of essays by the Czech Catholic and dissident Václav Benda.
“How Poetry Quiets the ‘Pandemonium of Blab’.” Christie Purifoy reviews Christian Wiman’s new book. As with everything Wiman writes, this book sounds excellent.
“The Holy Church of CrossFit.” Gracy Olmstead calls CrossFit “the perfect religion for our individualistic age,” a religion offering the embodied rituals and community that humans crave.
“Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore.” Yoni Appelbaum argues that democracy has to be learned:
For two centuries, the United States was distinguished by its mania for democracy: From early childhood, Americans learned to be citizens by creating, joining, and participating in democratic organizations. But in recent decades, Americans have fallen out of practice, or even failed to acquire the habit of democracy in the first place.
“The Long Road Home.” Heidi Johnston reflects on the tensions and joys of sticking with one’s community: “it’s not uncommon for me to look around the place where my story has taken root and be overwhelmed in the same moment by a deep sense of belonging and an overwhelming desire to be somewhere else.”