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The Timeless Way of Building: A Review

Why is it that we can all say that this building works, that this room is just right, that this town is good and pleasing? Why is it that we can all imagine some beautiful and perfect home, complete with all its habits and accouterments, but we can’t say exactly what it is about that home that is so perfect without describing the whole thing?

The Census Taker In a Church Pew, Part 4

Yet our little sister does not play the victim. She presses on, a sufferer who labors as best she can while shadows and thorns press in against her. And she prays to God like the woman persistent in her case when contending with an unjust judge; and since God is just, since He is the Good and Righteous Judge of All the Earth, our little sister’s hope remains “deeper still.”

Southern Hospitality in the New Machine Age

It’s not perhaps that the world doesn’t need change, but that as anti-Machine author Paul Kingsnorth put it in these pages, “the first work is changing yourself.” We have to live where we’re placed, and for Eve at the Meat and Malt, right now that means continuing to serve the guests who entreat her for sustenance, despite the intrusion of the impersonal into her hospitality.

Two Leftists Walk Into a Pandemic . . .

Not only did the worst consequences of lockdowns occur in the Global South, but lockdowns were pushed on the South from the North, through well-known strongarm tactics of neocolonialism that have consistently pushed neoliberalism, austerity, and impoverishment on the South for the last several decades.

Federalism Frees Us to Flourish

Although it may seem counterintuitive, freedom is actually enhanced, not curtailed, when states have the right to experiment, subject to important federal constitutional limitations, with social and economic polices till they do right by their citizens.

Small Plastic Gods: On the Tabletop Renaissance

Tabletop games put something in our twitchy, swipe-hungry fingers other than a digital device—a hand of cards, a pair of dice, a plastic Zeus. And since others have put down their phones too, we can look out over those cards into a human face, a present human face.

New Beginnings: A Conversation with David Heddendorf about his Novel, The...

David Heddendorf’s novel, The Terra Cotta Camel, is, as the subtitle accurately puts it, about “hope, new beginnings, and Des Moines.”...

Socialism, Localism, and the Future of Industrial Agriculture

If I’m honest, I am skeptical that the localist approach I advocate will bring about a quasi-utopian future of widespread flourishing, at least within my lifetime. But at least localism can materially change things. And while such changes will necessarily be modest, they will almost always be more impactful than all but a minority of a minority of policy arguments.

The Census Taker in the Pew, Part 3

He does not conflate attendance with salvation or sanctification. But empty pews can neither be saved nor sanctified. They never serve in the nursery or children’s services. They never teach Sunday school or tithe. They bring no food for potluck. They do not pray. They do not worship.

For the Love of Books

Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is the quintessential modern American problem-solving strategy, and it sure does have a lot going for it, when it comes to dealing with our problem of stuff—that other quintessential modern American problem. Alas, it won’t work in this case, for we really do pull these things off the shelves regularly to look up one thing or another. And it is wonderfully convenient to be able to say “oh, yes, here’s where I read about this topic” to a friend who is over for dinner—and then pull the book I’m thinking about off the shelf, right then and there.