Is Ethical Shopping Only for Hipsters?” Kate Lucky wrestles with ethical shopping, effective charity, and the upside down extravagance of the Kingdom of God: “We anticipate an abundant new earth, and pray for its arrival. Also, we accommodate the world we have now. I aim to give up more meals at restaurants and send more to the food pantry instead, to buy thrift-store clothes instead of new, “sustainable” ones. These are practices I’ve long preached to myself. They align the ecological and the economic, the beautiful and the good. Everyone wins (except the corporations). But the change that we need (that I need) isn’t only external, a matter of shifting line items on a budget. The trickier shift needs to happen in the heart.”

How American Agriculture Went Wrong.” Helen Andrews reviews Barons: Money, Power, and the Corruption of America’s Food Industry, by Austin Frerick: “Frerick would eliminate these subsidies, throwing out the Farm Bill as it has existed since the reforms of 1996, and also strengthen anti-trust enforcement to go after vertically integrated corporations that have robbed farmers of their independence. Putting together a coalition for these reforms is tricky because, as Frerick admits, both parties have played a part in creating this mess.”

A Person, No?”: Lindsay Turner remembers the great poetry critic—and teacher—Helen Vendler:” “Her way of reading poetry and teaching it was to do it as a human being—a very smart and demanding one, but someone whose rigor was rooted in empathy, care, and a sense of common humanity.”

Finding a (Real) Christian College.” For college decision day, I wrote for Christianity Today about what students should look for when deciding on what college to attend: “the most overlooked and therefore most insidious threat to Christian education in America right now [is] not progressive theology. It’s a pervasive consumerist anthropology. Theological anthropology concerns our assumptions about the nature and purpose of humanity. And by ‘consumerist anthropology’ I mean the belief—often subconsciously held—that people are essentially consumers who should maximize their earning potential so they can consume as many entertaining experiences and products as possible.”

How a Nation Reformed Its Universities.” Greg Conti surveys the history of Oxford and Cambridge in an effort to gain perspective on today’s battles over university politics and free speech: “It is hazardous to try to draw lessons from history, but the Victorian debate over university reform may shed some light on present controversies. For one, as this history demonstrates, there is nothing distinctly liberal about defending universities, nor anything distinctly conservative about attacking them.” (Recommended by Adam Smith.)

To Praise Ambitious Men.” Jake Meador reviews David Bahnsen’s Full-Time: Work and the Meaning of Life, and finds much to praise despite some qualms: “If you take the book to be a reflection on work, you’re only getting part of the story. Really the book is a vindication of what John Piper might call ‘holy ambition,’ and a clear argument that ‘holy ambitions’ are not only ambitions toward missions or vocational ministry, but that an ambition to succeed in one’s profession can and should be regarded as holy as well. Indeed, everything I love about the book is bound up in its treatment of ambition and much of what I disliked is related to its treatment of ‘work.’” (Recommended by Paul Perrault.)

The Mystery of Father-Son Relationships.” Benjamin P. Myers considers B. H. Fairchild’s new collection of poems, An Ordinary Life, and praises his ability to balance the particular and the transcendent: “From his early work on, Fairchild’s best poems have always had a sense of layered time, of past inhabiting the present. Often, this sense of layered time is connected to an exploration of the relationship between fathers and sons.”

Care for the Environment Is Biblical. It’s Also a Witness to Environmentalists.” Dennis Greeson shows how Andrew Spencer’s book Hope for God’s Creation: Stewardship in an Age of Futility addresses some of the tensions at the heart of contemporary environmentalism: “if change, struggle, and extinction are just part of nature and there’s nothing transcendent to inform what we should do [then] calls to action in nature documentaries add up to little more than sentimentality—that is, unless we undergird them with a Christian belief in a Creator to whom we are accountable as we live in his creation. Perhaps, then, Christians may have more to say about care for God’s creation than many Christians and their skeptics might realize.”

Note to Self: If I Get Some Time Today.” As E.B. White and Brian Miller know, a farmer’s memorandum is never ending: “It looks like rain, so I’d better get that feed out of the back of the truck. I’ll need to put the boom pole back on the tractor to lift the barrels. That yard box will need to come off. But first I’ll grade the drive—it is a mess since the last rain. So, first things first. I’ll go get some diesel for the big tractor, since it’s on empty.”

How a Connecticut Middle School Won the Battle against Cellphones.” Joanna Slater reports on how a cellphone ban has affected one school: “When students are in groups, the peer pressure to dislike Yondr remains strong, Dolphin said with a laugh. In one-on-one conversations, though, it’s different. Multiple students have told him they feel like they are making more friends. His gut also tells him that ‘the angsty intensity kids are living under’ — he mimicked a person with head down, lost in a screen — has diminished. Students confirmed that the disappearance of cellphones has, in turn, stimulated something old-fashioned. Serenity Erazo, 14, said that she used to watch TikTok or listen to music after completing her class work. Free time is a little duller now, she said, but the students have adapted: ‘We’ll just find conversation, we figure it out.’”

“‘In the US they think we’re communists!’ The 70,000 Workers Showing the World Another Way to Earn a Living.” Oliver Balch reports on the world’s largest cooperative: “More than its economic success, though, Mondragón has become a beacon for the co-operative model, as a more humane and egalitarian way of doing business that puts ‘people over capital.’ Every worker has a stake in the company’s fortunes and a say in how it is run, and receives a share of the profits. But the goal is more about creating ‘rich societies, not rich people.’ That means looking after workers during not only the good times but the tough times, too.”

Peter Viereck’s Unadjusted Conservatism.” John D. Wilsey commends a neglected American conservative: “Viereck deserves more amplification, especially in light of our dingbat politics driven by chaos-obsessed personalities rather than serious ideas.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. José María Arizmendiarrieta should be a legend of the 20th century. There are many reasons Mondragon gets ignored, mostly because it’s not so much about economics as about ethnic and religious self-determination and solidarity and neither the “left” or “right” can tolerate that.


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