Casey Spinks is a Ph.D. student in the religion department at Baylor University. A native of Baton Rouge, he earned his B.A. and M.A. in philosophy and religious studies at Louisiana State University. His academic work has appeared in the book Taking Kierkegaard Personally and the journals International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy & Theology and Perspectives in Religious Studies. And he has written essays for The Imaginative Conservative, Christianity Today, and VoegelinView. He is also an avid birder and occasional carpenter.
What comes out is a story of a small group of Reformed Canadian Baptists who are rural, hardworking, self-educated (largely by reading the Bible), and persistent in becoming holy, but not without earning some dry humor along the way. Jeffrey excels at the hard task of publishing the culture of his upbringing, as well as some of the best of his private life, with both charity and clarity.
Somewhat surprisingly, this is also McCarthy at his most delighted at everyday joys. There are many tender passages of drinking coffee in porcelain cups in diners, eating tortillas and beans on stops in the desert, working with cowboys at small jobs on ranches, and companionship with horses, mules, even wolves.
Are dreams only dreams? Or are they God’s gifts of the unconscious which we still fail to know? McCarthy lets these questions remain, and no argument or worldview can answer them. So, we are left waiting for God to say something, anything, as His answer.
With this love and materiality, these two films express the pure reality to which their protagonists are so devoted. In a world of frictionless unreality, endless abstractions, and tepid and timid loves, these films impress upon us resistance, difficulty, attachment, and the dire risk that attachment brings
Casey Spinks muses on zombie shows, Pixar movies, Scorsese films, metaphysical realism, and the philosophical fate of modern culture in his review of Age of Anxiety: Meaning, Identity, and Politics in 21st-Century Film and Literature, by Anthony Wachs and Jon Schaff.
Even if ‘land’ is less important than actual vote share, this map does point to a very real issue at the heart of American politics: namely that majorities, specifically local majorities, matter very much in our democracy.
So long as old Christianity is treated as an aesthetic or an alternative lifestyle or a set of values contending against alienated modernity, it will never be anything more than a therapeutic commodity. But if we allow it to reckon with us, we may find ourselves snared in the grasp of “something real.”