“Dorothy Day’s Radical Faith.” Casey Cep takes the recent discussions regarding Dorothy Day’s potential sainthood as an occasion to consider her rich and bracing legacy. Keep an eye out for Myles Werntz’s excellent review of the new documentary that Cep discusses; FPR will be running it in the coming days.
“The Witness of the Weak Centres.” Laura M. Fabrycky ponders Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s legacy and whether he should be considered a hero—in fact, whether we should even have heroes. Bonhoeffer himself was rooted in many relationships and communities, and to focus on him as an individual is to miss the real story of his life and work. She concludes by challenging us not to miss “the witness of the weak centres—the witness of love and committed belonging, which sustains and preserves this world.”
“Searching for Salvation During a Pandemic.” Emma Green interviews pastor Jimmy Dorrell about the challenges of celebrating this season with his unusual Waco congregation. I attended Church Under the Bridge during my first year of grad school, and the Easter service at the river was a highlight of the year. Pastor Jimmy and this church do remarkable work, and it’s good to see them being highlighted in the Atlantic.
“‘A Time of Great Uncertainty.’” Austen Ivereigh interviews Pope Francis: “I see early signs of an economy that is less liquid, more human. But let us not lose our memory once all this is past, let us not file it away and go back to where we were. This is the time to take the decisive step, to move from using and misusing nature to contemplating it. We have lost the contemplative dimension; we have to get it back at this time.”
“Covid-19 and the Question Concerning Technology.” Bruno Maçães blithely praises the use of intrusive surveillance technologies to track people who test positive for the virus. According to him this pandemic is a reminder that nature is dangerous and more technology will save us: “Far from believing that our natural environment needs to be liberated from human interference, we are now much more likely to think that it needs to be colonized anew. Nature is once again the problem.” There are, of course, other ways of interpreting what’s happening. And as Matt Stewart asks about this essay, “What could go wrong?” George Orwell might have one possible answer to that question.
“What Lasch Knew.” Jon Lauck reviews Ben Lerner’s semi-autobiographical novel, The Topeka School. Unfortunately, he finds that the novel resorts to lazy critiques of Kansas and misdiagnosis the roots of its ills:
All his great learning doesn’t prevent him from making an egregious misdiagnosis. He needs to read the Nebraskan Christopher Lasch, who made the transition from sixties-era socialist to defender of the old virtues. Lasch thought the erosion of the republican traditions of places like Kansas, the fraying of historical consciousness, the undermining of Christian principles, and the rise of the therapeutic culture represented by the parents of Adam and Jason were to blame. The latter founded Prozac Nation and triggered our age of anxiety and overmedicated children.
“The Ethics of Healthcare Rationing.” Matthew Loftus wrestles with the difficult questions about who should get scarce medical resources and attention—and, even more importantly, why.
“Floodplain.” Matthew Loftus also writes for Plough about what it’s like being a doctor in Kenya, waiting for the virus to come to your precarious community, and seeking to be faithful in this time.
“The Coronavirus Monsters on Main Street.” Peter Van Buren points out that, despite our desire for a clear scapegoat, no single person, not even Trump, bears the full blame for the pandemic.
“How to Burn a Goat.” Terrance Layhew of Intellectual Agrarian interviews Scott H. Moore about his recent book.
“The Coronavirus Pandemic is Pushing Dairy Farmers to the Brink.” Siena Chrisman reports on how things have gone from bad to worse for dairy farmers.
“The Last Christians in America? R.R. Reno and the Bitter Remnant Mindset of First Things.” Jason E. Vickers mourns the decline in the intellectual rigor and honesty of essays in First Things. While I tend to agree with his assessment of FT’s editorial vision, good essays and poetry continue to appear in its pages and on the website.