You may think this an unusual title for a post, but there were two things upcoming that I wanted to write about and after I thought about it I realized that in both cases there were rhetorical training wheels coming off.
First of all in the more immediate timeframe I am going to take Cathy Keim’s training wheels off and she’s going to be in charge of content this weekend. I’m going away for a personal mission (of sorts) so she is going to cover for me Friday through Sunday. Given some of the places she’s telling me she’s going and has been, there should be stuff so good you’ll hardly miss me.
But once I return I have a homework assignment: I have to review an upcoming book.
You probably know him as the former editor for RedState who now has his own site called The Resurgent, but Erick Erickson is moving back into the world of publishing with his second book, You Will Be Made To Care: The War On Faith, Family, And Your Freedom To Believe. I was one of a select few who get an advance copy to sneak a peek at (and yes, there was competition involved – only about 1 in 4 who applied were picked.)
In his life, Erickson has evolved from being a lawyer to local politician to blogger to radio host, but along the way followed his faith into studying for the ministry, and it’s that perspective taken from the intersection of religion and politics which interested me in reviewing this book. He’s taking the training wheels off this newfound (or perhaps rekindled) passion of his.
It’s been awhile since Erick turned the phrase that became the title of the book, but it rings more and more true as the secular nation intrudes more and more onto the religious community. Once upon a time the church was sacrosanct, with small towns around the nation coming to a halt on Sundays as people flocked to the local Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Catholic churches. Local clergy were respected members of the social circle of each of these communities.
This began to change in the latter half of the last century, not only with a decline in church membership and attendance but also the coarsening of culture, or to borrow a term from the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “defining deviancy down.” Now churches and their believers are becoming the outcasts of society, with some denominations yielding more readily to the reality they perceive is out there than others.
Regardless, I look forward to spending a little time reading the advance copy and gathering my thoughts on Erickson’s points. But I’m going to adapt a saying I use for my music reviews and tell you to read for yourself – all you need to do is follow these steps and pre-order it.
If it’s as well-done as his new website is (spoken from the perspective of a guy who really hates all the clickbait out there, Erick’s new site is a refreshing change) this book deserves to be a million-seller. Looks like I’m going to find out!
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