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Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

January 1970 Archives

Smells like tween spirit

posted by Rod Dreher

You know what male teen-and-tweenagerhood smelled like in the 1980s? Polo by Ralph Lauren. It was widely believed by us male types to render girls sexually powerless before our fragrant selves. It was also an aromatic class marker, in the […]

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Growlers: Is there anything beer can’t do?

posted by Rod Dreher

I have already expectorated all over the crackpot alcohol retailing laws of my new state, and in that vein, let me praise the new Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting for introducing me to the growler. I made a WF run […]

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The pain in religious conversion

posted by Rod Dreher

An Orthodox friend sends word of a catechumen in his parish, coming to Orthodoxy from Catholicism. My friend is pleased about this, as am I — but I told my friend that as a former Catholic, I have absolutely no […]

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Father Moses Berry and black Orthodoxy

posted by Rod Dreher

What an unexpected surprise to find in this morning’s NYT a story about Father Moses Berry, an African-American priest of the Orthodox church, who not only pastors a small Orthodox parish in his Missouri hometown, but also runs a tiny […]

Alabama Baptist boy turned jihadist

posted by Rod Dreher

Fascinating NYT Magazine account today about Omar Hammami, a charismatic boy from small-town Alabama who, having been raised a Baptist, embraced his father’s Islam — and went on to embrace a radical version of same, and to become a celebrated […]

G x E, or, how to think of genius

posted by Rod Dreher

David Shenk: Genes are always interacting with the environment, so the new way to think about this is that it’s not nature plus nurture on nature versus nurture. If anything it’s nature interacting with nurture if you have to use […]

Why is the South so religious?

posted by Rod Dreher

Randall Stephens, editor of the Journal of Southern Religion, says it has a lot to do with the South’s cultural homogeneity for most of its history. I suspect too that the fact that the South remained agrarian (and comparatively poorer) […]

The tragedy of deracination

posted by Rod Dreher

Anthropologist Wade Davis, from his excellent 2009 book “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World”: Our way of life, inspired in so many ways, is not the paragon of humanity’s potential. Once we look through the anthropological […]

‘Avatar': Kelo in space

posted by Rod Dreher

Libertarian demi-god David Boaz says yeah, yeah, ‘Avatar’ is a melange of leftist cliches, but the Right is ignoring a powerful conservative theme in the film. Excerpt: Conservatives rallied to the defense of Susette Kelo when the Pfizer Corp. and […]

Is it wrong to refuse interracial dating?

posted by Rod Dreher

Over at The Root, Helena Andrews (who is black) writes about why she doesn’t date white guys. The piece is entertaining, but good luck trying to find an actual argument in it. It did make me wonder, though, if it […]

The idiocy of state liquor store monopolies

posted by Rod Dreher

If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be as startled as I was by the crazypants liquor-buying system in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State, like a handful of other states, maintains a government monopoly on the sale of wine and spirits, and […]

The inevitable iPad thread

posted by Rod Dreher

Soooo … the iPad is announced. What think ye? There’s such a hurricane of information and analysis I hardly know what to say. I’m also a minor Apple cult member — minor because though I’m not evangelical about all things […]

Would you cure your kid’s Down syndrome?

posted by Rod Dreher

Reader Helen sent a link to this discussion from a NYT blog entry asking whether or not a parent should cure his child’s Down syndrome if a cure became available. My first response is, “Absolutely” — but it turns out […]

The agony of foodie yoga

posted by Rod Dreher

I keep trying to come up with something snarky or insightful to say about this story, but I can’t improve on the hilarity of the thing itself. Excerpt: Calling his mission “yoga for the Everyman,” Mr. Romanelli, 36, plays Grateful […]

A Zombietopia of one’s own

posted by Rod Dreher

Sharon Astyk contemplates what her own “Zombietopia” — that is, her idealized apocalypse — would look like. I especially like these features: 10. My children will recognize that this is a heroic and important moment, and rise nobly to the […]

Atheist pwns liberal Christian

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Kathryn Jean Lopez, an exchange between a Unitarian minister and Christopher Hitchens: [Unitarian;] The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from […]

The brilliant Keynes-Hayek rap

posted by Rod Dreher

Heard this on the radio the other night, and now Reader Oliver sends the video. Excellent stuff:

To tweet like Cicero

posted by Rod Dreher

Behold, an argument that Twitter can make us better writers of oratory. Excerpt: Even the best of [Obama’s West Point] speech is lackluster. Now turn to Cicero’s Philippics, as translated by the wartime code breaker DR Shackleton Bailey 30 years […]

Does China’s rise threaten us?

posted by Rod Dreher

The philosopher A.C. Grayling reviews Martin Jacques’ new book “When China Rules The World.” Jacques believes that the West will decline relative to China’s rise, and China will bring forth a different kind of modernity onto the world stage. Grayling […]

Empathy’s dark side

posted by Rod Dreher

Just up on the Templeton Foundation’s YouTube channel is a nine-part conversation between the eminent primatologist and psychologist Frans de Waal and Discover magazine’s Carl Zimmer about de Waal’s celebrated new book, “The Age of Empathy.” Note especially the final […]

Pope John Paul II, flagellant

posted by Rod Dreher

Did you hear the latest revelation about the spiritual life of the late Pope John Paul II? Excerpt: Pope John Paul II not only practiced severe bodily penance – including whipping himself with a belt and sleeping on the floor- […]

Reason, religion and moral behavior

posted by Rod Dreher

Yesterday I was discussing with a colleague the role religion has in guiding moral behavior among individuals and groups. Is it possible to demonstrate empirically that religion lowers rates of crime and anti-social behavior? My thought was that the question […]

Facebook privacy settings you should activate

posted by Rod Dreher

As some of you who have tried to friend me, or otherwise engage me on Facebook know, I’m definitely not much of an FB user. I almost never check my page, mostly because I am already overburdened with more information […]

All sex abuse victims traumatized? Maybe not

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a favorable review in today’s NYTimes of a new book, “The Trauma Myth,” by a Harvard psychologist. Here’s the book’s gist: For a graduate research project at Harvard in the mid-1990s, the psychologist Susan A. Clancy arranged to interview […]

What could you give up for the poor?

posted by Rod Dreher

Reader Anna e-mails a link to Nick Kristof’s column Sunday, in which he profiles a relatively well-off family that downsized its life to a more reasonable level so they could give more to the needy. They even sold their big […]

A note about comments policy

posted by Rod Dreher

It might be good to restate the comments policy of this blog, even though I should say how grateful I am that I’ve had to do far, far less unpublishing of comments since I started the new, non-political, non-culture-war blog. […]

Would space aliens need redemption?

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Science & Religion Today, we learn of a two-day Royal Society conference in London in which scientific big thinkers speculate on what alien life is likely to be like, if it indeed is ever discovered. A piece in New […]

SWPL Alert! Marital spats over environmentalism

posted by Rod Dreher

The Stuff White People Like klaxons are sounding over news that some couples are having to seek marital counseling because they can’t agree on how green to be. This is wild. Excerpt: As awareness of environmental concerns has grown, therapists […]

Why small town teenagers do drugs

posted by Rod Dreher

From one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers. Excerpt: There’s one other factor in rural drug use. There’s nothing to do in small towns. Growing up in New Mexico, we were bored. When you’re a teenager, you can only watch so much […]

Saints to the Super Bowl! Jesus coming back soon!

posted by Rod Dreher

I never, ever thought I would live to see the day that the New Orleans Saints would make it to the Super Bowl. But now it’s for true! What an incredible game that was — and let me say that […]

Anthropological field notes from Pennsylvania

posted by Rod Dreher

When we knew we were moving back to the Northeastern part of the U.S., we anticipated some culture shock. True, we spent the first five years of our marriage in New York City, and we loved it, but it took […]

Why community organizations have declined

posted by Rod Dreher

Sharon Astyk ponders why devotion to church and community organizations has declined so much in the last couple of generations, taking as her examples her shul and her grandmother’s experience in Eastern Star, the ladies auxiliary of the Freemasons. Sharon […]

Against supersized cocktails

posted by Rod Dreher

When we stopped at an Arby’s in northern Tennessee, I asked for a medium diet Coke. The worker behind the counter handed me a tub. This didn’t surprise me, actually, because I’d seen the documentary “Supersize Me,” which tells of […]

Hello Philadelphia!

posted by Rod Dreher

Well, we made it to our new place. I’m not going to tell you what part of Philadelphia we’re living in, because I had trouble in Dallas with a reader harrassing me and my family in a pretty sick way, […]

Campaign finance ruling — good or bad?

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m divided over the Supreme Court’s ruling the other day striking down campaign finance laws restricting corporate contributions to political campaigns. On the one hand, McCain-Feingold not only seems like exactly what its opponents say it is — an onerous […]

Bad Road Food Syndrome

posted by Rod Dreher

Julie and I aren’t Jane and Michael Stern, so we don’t know where the good road food places are along the highways and byways of America. Nor did we have the sense to consult their Roadfood.com website while on this […]

Morals, finance and comeuppance

posted by Rod Dreher

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the book I’ve been listening to on the long drive to PA is Niall Ferguson’s “The Ascent of Money,” a history of finance. It can be tough going for someone like me, but […]

A soldier’s perspective on life

posted by Rod Dreher

I had expected to write you tonight from our apartment in Philadelphia, but it took so long to get the mechanical stuff resolved with Julie’s car today (busted air compressor, not vital to repair today) that we got a late […]

John Edwards, confessed babydaddy

posted by Rod Dreher

For some reason, this Ford dealership from where I’m blogging won’t let me access any general news sites, so I can’t post a link to the news account of John Edwards admitting publicly that he fathered Rielle Hunter’s baby. I’m […]

Postcard from Knoxville

posted by Rod Dreher

Good morning, a greeting I offer you without much confidence. Why? Because I’m sitting in the customer lounge at a Ford dealership, waiting on Julie’s minivan diagnosis (“Sir, we’re going to need to charge you $89 for the diagnosis. We’ll […]

Goodbye little house

posted by Rod Dreher

Today was the day that we moved. This explains the blog silence; I was up very late last night packing, and up early this morning to finish. We closed the doors on the moving cubes and locked them around 3:30, then […]

How to be happy

posted by Rod Dreher

You’d be better off being Lorna, a struggling, overweight, unhealthy, unattractive black church lady and granny than Richard, a wealthy, white, handsome, single man who has lots of interesting aesthetic experiences. From Nick Kristof’s column today: Men are no happier […]

Ideas and partisanship

posted by Rod Dreher

As I’ve been wrapping things up in Dallas, I’ve had several good conversations with friends and associates about what I’m moving to Templeton to do. Whatever the political orientation of these friends, I’ve detected a common theme in our conversations […]

Good & bad about this new blog

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m struggling to get my footing on this new blog. As you know, I’m no longer blogging about politics and the culture war, and as a result, my readership numbers have dipped. It’s going to take some time to build […]

M. d’Espagnat, the apophatic quantum physicist

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve been at Templeton only two weeks, and all these great and fascinating things keep turning up. Yesterday after church, I spoke with a friend at coffee hour who, when I told him I’d gone to work for Templeton, spoke […]

George Noory, a religious talk radio host?

posted by Rod Dreher

Loved this Atlantic Monthly profile of George Noory, the host of the overnight syndicated radio show “Coast to Coast.” I had no idea that Art Bell had left the show years ago, and handed it off to Noory. Why is […]

And yet, the Haitians praise God

posted by Rod Dreher

The other night, a day after the Haiti earthquake, ABC News ended its evening broadcast with video of destitute and shell-shocked Haitians standing in the street, singing alleluia. It was a stunning sight. Last night on Fox, Geraldo Rivera reported […]

Steven Pinker on the blank slate

posted by Rod Dreher

After liturgy yesterday, I was talking to a friend who was pleased to learn that I’d been at a dinner the other night with Harvard evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker. My friend, though an Orthodox Christian, finds reading the atheist scientist […]

Counterterrorism and the Ring of Power

posted by Rod Dreher

From today’s NYT Magazine piece on Obama’s counterterrorism strategy: Michael Hayden, the last C.I.A. director under Bush, was willing to say publicly what others would not. “There is a continuum from the Bush administration, particularly as it changed in the […]

Maybe you should stay in the city

posted by Rod Dreher

Sharon Astyk, a rural farmer who writes often about preparing for what she believes is a coming time of severe economic hardship related to peak oil and climate change, says city people who believe escaping to the country is the […]

Dr. Gould, small-town physician of the gods

posted by Rod Dreher

Last night I was up with insomnia and started poking around Facebook, which I never do. And what did I find? A tribute page to Alfred R. Gould, M.D., now retired, but in his day the small-town physician of myth. […]

The newest great American

posted by Rod Dreher

Just got word that my dear friend and godfather Vladimir Grigorenko today became an American citizen. He is the iconographer at St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas — pictured above — and an emigre from Ukraine. Vladimir was raised without […]

Frenemies: Vatican vs. ‘Avatar’

posted by Rod Dreher

Rome does not like ‘Avatar’. From the NYT report: The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, wrote that “Avatar,” which stars Sam Worthington, right, “gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature,” according to The A.P. Vatican Radio said […]

Haiti: Religion as a negative example

posted by Rod Dreher

While we’re talking about the unseen value of native religions, David Brooks reminds us in his column today that a big part of Haiti’s problem is voodoo. Excerpt: Why is Haiti so poor? Well, it has a history of oppression, […]

The economics of building community

posted by Rod Dreher

Sharon Astyk has been reading a guy who points out that there are a lot of people who talk about how great it would be if we had community instead of a mass society of individuals, but who don’t want […]

Religion and empiricism

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m on a Wade Davis kick this week, so I do apologize for the repetition in this week’s blogging of these themes of religion, truth, and culture. But I find this stuff engaging at the moment, and appreciate your comments […]

Conan or Jay?

posted by Rod Dreher

It’s not science, religion, the market or morals, but I gotta ask: Conan or Jay? I don’t watch either one, and I really don’t care, though it should be said that Jay Leno has a professional reputation as a genuinely […]

Faith and ways of knowing truth

posted by Rod Dreher

Today in New York, I paid a visit by the Beliefnet mothership, and said hi to some of the great people who bring you this here blog. I’ll admit, it surprised me that they have upended bottles of Veuve Clicquot […]

Haiti’s agony

posted by Rod Dreher

I apologize for having been away from the keys all day. I’m in New York doing Templeton stuff, and haven’t been able to find a wifi connection at the places I’ve been. I woke up this morning to the terrible […]

Wade Davis on ancient religious knowledge

posted by Rod Dreher

Excerpt from a more recent TED talk by Wade Davis — the entire thing is in the video above — reflecting on the meaning of the worldwide web of religious knowledge: And if we slip from the realm of the […]

Crazy like Americans

posted by Rod Dreher

Utterly fascinating report from Ethan Watters, writing in The New York Times. Excerpt: In any given era, those who minister to the mentally ill — doctors or shamans or priests — inadvertently help to select which symptoms will be recognized […]

Who’s going to grow our food?

posted by Rod Dreher

It took Sharon Astyk’s blog post about the demographic crisis in agriculture (she’s now blogging on Science Blogs, by the way) to crystallize in my mind what rubbed me the wrong way about Caitlin Flanagan’s disparaging Alice Waters for her […]

A black linguist defends Harry Reid

posted by Rod Dreher

As you know, this is no longer a politically partisan blog, but I do want to call your attention to the black linguist John McWhorter’s defense of Harry Reid re: the senator’s controversial remarks about Obama and black English. I […]

The separation of religion and life

posted by Rod Dreher

Good Ross Douthat column today, talking about the meaning of Brit Hume’s on-air appeal to Tiger Woods to embrace Christianity. Douthat neither endorses nor condemns Hume, but does question our culture for pushing the discussion of religion strictly to the […]

“Avatar” and cultural loss

posted by Rod Dreher

I finally made it to “Avatar” today. Whatever else there is to say about the film, it was well worth seeing for the visual spectacle alone. I saw it in 3D, and it was great fun. It’s also fun, in […]

Mortaging one’s personal honor

posted by Rod Dreher

Let’s revisit this 2008 post of mine in which I discussed the case of Raymond Zulueta, a California homeowner whose mellow was being harshed because he owed more money on his house than it was worth. So he walked away […]

Farewell, ladies

posted by Rod Dreher

We said goodbye to our hens today. They’re now living in Austin, with Julie’s brother and his wife, in a good home. This got to me more than I thought it would, mostly because it upset Julie and the kids […]

The unfashionable relevance of big ideas

posted by Rod Dreher

In the new issue of Touchstone, Ken Myers publishes a short essay (not available online) about the importance of Richard Weaver’s short but highly influential 1948 book “Ideas Have Consequences.” I have the same paperback edition Ken has, apparently; when […]

Thinking on the long road home

posted by Rod Dreher

Finally, back in my own bed tonight, after five days of traveling. What a relief. I hugged my parents goodbye this morning and climbed into a U-Haul truck for the long ride home. As I was driving out, it occurred […]

The Internet and our thinking

posted by Rod Dreher

The Edge’s 2010 World Question survey is out today. The question, and answers: How is the Internet changing the way you think? I’m about to get on the road for the long drive back to Texas, so I don’t have […]

Gardening with SWPLs

posted by Rod Dreher

It was with automatic hostility that I came to Caitlin Flanagan’s essay in the Atlantic Monthly in which she rips Alice Waters and the state of Calfornia’s educational establishment for its school gardening program, Edible Schoolyard. What is wrong with […]

Taking responsibility as an empty gesture

posted by Rod Dreher

The president said today that the failure of the government to stop the failed Christmas bomber is ultimately his own. We’ve come to expect this from our leaders — the ritual claiming of responsibility. I find it an empty gesture, […]

Here in the homeland

posted by Rod Dreher

Today I’m in sub-freezing, wet south Louisiana, where I flew yesterday from Phila. I’m picking up a couple of pieces of furniture from my mom and dad’s place, and driving it back to Dallas in the morning in a U-Haul. […]

Hooray! A Walker Percy documentary

posted by Rod Dreher

Via First Things and Doug LeBlanc comes fantastic news! Watch: About the filmmaker.

Train across America

posted by Rod Dreher

Sorry for the ultralight posting, folks. I’ve been traveling since early this morning, having been in Philadelphia this week to start my new job, and am completely wiped out. More substantive and frequent posting tomorrow, promise. I did want to put a question to […]

The future of Britain’s food

posted by Rod Dreher

The UK government has announced a new “food security” policy — and it’s not going to make localists happy. Excerpt: Imported beef. Genetically modified potatoes. The disappearance of those handy labels that tell you just how far your green beans […]

Don’t worry, be unhappy

posted by Rod Dreher

Kerry Howley is mostly pleased with Barbaran Ehrenreich’s jeremiad against the power of positive thinking. Excerpt from her review: All the Oprah-ready gurus you would expect to populate this polemic show up to share some advice–here’s Joel Osteen warning us […]

Gadgets to watch in 2010

posted by Rod Dreher

OK, I’m going to confess to you now that Santa Claus brought the Dreher chirren a Wii for Christmas — and it was a fantastic purchase, for the most part. The kids are getting actual exercise (both boys came out […]

In UK, poor Muslim families doing better

posted by Rod Dreher

Poking around the Templeton Report archives this afternoon, I found this news of a Templeton-funded research project that examined life among a geographic segment of economically disadvantage British teenagers. Here’s one of the things researchers found: Hodge Hill is one […]

Techno-utopians and hedonism

posted by Rod Dreher

Evgeny Morozov says that Western geeks who think that Twitter and related information technologies are going to topple authoritarian governments are naive. Excerpt: But this is an anachronistic view of the world. Modern authoritarian states have eagerly (but selectively) embraced […]

Faith and speaking today’s language

posted by Rod Dreher

In Philadelphia, several historic Orthodox Christian parishes are on their last legs, because times have changed and so have the demographics of the areas they serve. From a long, interesting report in the Philadelphia Inquirer; Therein lies the challenge for […]

Arguments for the existence of God

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve just started a novel called “36 Arguments for the Existence of God,” by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. It will be released next week. Here’s what the author says on Amazon about her book: Dinner party hostesses used to be warned […]

Welcome to the new Rod Dreher blog

posted by Rod Dreher

Good morning, and welcome to the successor to my Crunchy Con blog, of blessed memory. I’ve started this new blog because I’ve taken a new job as director of publications at the John Templeton Foundation.  JTF is a philanthropy that […]

Previous Posts

Another blog to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Rod Dreher. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Most Recent Scientology Story on Beliefnet! Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 3:25:02pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Mommy explains her plastic surgery
In Dallas (naturally), a parenting magazine discusses how easy it is for mommies who don't like their post-child bodies to get surgery -- and to have it financed! -- to reverse the effects of time and childbirth. Don't like what nursing has done ...

posted 10:00:56pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Why I became Orthodox
Wrapping up my four Beliefnet years, I was thinking about the posts that attracted the most attention and comment in that time. Without a doubt the most popular (in terms of attracting attention, not all of it admiring, to be sure) was the ...

posted 9:46:58pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Modern Calvinists
Wow, they don't make Presbyterians like they used to! ...

posted 8:47:01pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

'Rape by deception'? Huh?
The BBC this morning reported on a bizarre case in Israel of an Arab man convicted of "rape by deception," because he'd led the Jewish woman with whom he'd had consensual sex to believe he was Jewish. Ha'aretz has the story here. Plainly it's a ...

posted 7:51:28pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

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