“Passionate in the Pursuit of Awe”: A Review of American Divine

In “American Divine,” it would seem that the pursuit is not so much a pursuit of divinity but rather the experience of it—the awe, which in this instance is private and individualistic, potentially addictive, and more an expression of personal epiphanies than a community-shared t … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 17 hours ago

Making Meaning in the Haunted Midwest

Those of us committed to the Midwest and its literature can and should mourn the damages done to our region by our habits of transience. But we must also recognize, as these two books help us do, that it is not just the Midwest, but life itself, that is “fluid and impermanent.” | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 2 days ago

A Book to Guide the Church: The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, International Edition

The IE is essentially the 1662 BCP of old, but unlike the Cambridge edition it is not just that and nothing more—it is the 1662 judiciously tweaked and supplemented in a way calculated to attract both newcomers to the BCP and long-time Anglicans. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 3 days ago

Road Signs and Watersheds and Gratitude

Tributary streams remind us that every attitude flows to the sea. Our reactions to the streams of today’s circumstances feed the rivers of our everyday attitudes. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 4 days ago

Mother Trees, Vaccines, and Charles Péguy

“Finding the Mother Tree: An Interview with Suzanne Simard.” In this interview with Emergence Magazine, Simard talks about her work on fungal networks and forest cooperation, and she also describes her ongoing research into partial cutting techniques that hold the promise of more … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 6 days ago

Don’t Cancel My Bandsaw: A Parable

Our disagreements are about real things, but people are real too. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 7 days ago

The Liberal Arts for Loss and Lament

The main posture of a liberal arts education is slowing down, rest, seeing. But if we just train students to only strive, reach, stretch for something more, then suffering will come as a wasteful, meaningless interruption. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 9 days ago

Grail and Anti-Grail Quests

"After all, if you are too small to do anything, what need is there to stir!” | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 10 days ago

Os Guinness on Liberty and Hope

Prolific author and social critic Os Guinness discusses the current challenges for liberty and his hopes for the future. The Chinese-born, English-educated, Irish-rooted scholar who lives in America also shares insights from his time at L’Abri and talks some Arsenal football. Hig … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 11 days ago

All Shall Be Well: A Review of Raft of Stars

Then I read a book like Raft of Stars, and I am again filled with wonder. Not just at nature–at rivers, forests, and fields–but at my children themselves. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 11 days ago

Associational Life, Liberal Arts Farmers, and Forgiveness

“Bread and Circuses: The Replacement of American Community Life.” Lyman Stone has a lengthy new report on recent shifts in American associational life: “The future of associational life in America will depend on what Americans really want. If they want modern bread and circuses, … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 13 days ago

Read Not the Times. Read the Eternities: A Review of Reading the Times

When our own churches are divided and bubbled up in their own media worlds, unable to agree on basic “facts” related to current events, you know its time to take a more theological approach to this thing we call the “news.” Bilbro’s rich reflection is a fine place to start; let i … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 14 days ago

Erik Bootsma On Traditional Architecture

My guest is Erik Bootsma a classical architect who specializes in ecclesiastical architecture. Erik was trained at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, which focuses on traditional forms of architecture. He and I discuss the role and modern degradation of architec … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 16 days ago

“I can not live in this world”: A Review of Paul Kingsnorth’s Alexandria

One answer from Kingsnorth’s fiction lies in limits. No human, nor all of us put together, is sovereign over the fate of the world, despite the unprecedented power we enjoy over life and death within it. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 16 days ago

Paul Kingsnorth and the Truer Path of Worship

A short review cannot do justice to the range of reasons visitors to the Porch should read Kingsnorth’s three novels, so I’ll begin simply by saying: Read them. These are thought-provoking, challenging, and linguistically creative novels. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 17 days ago

Summer Distributism Discussion

This summer Laurie M. Johnson, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Primary Texts Certificate at Kansas State University, will be leading an online seminar discussing distributist texts and ideas. Several of the readings for the seminar come from last year’s issue o … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 18 days ago

Let us Feast!

Time and time again, in both mythic and recorded history, humans have celebrated the passing of a hardship by gathering together in merriment with good food and drink and song. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 18 days ago

Mass Uprooting, Guilds, and the Classics

“The Turning Point.” Carlo Lancellotti draws on the work of Italian philosopher Augusto Del Noce to supplement recent sociological descriptions of our individualistic society: “Del Noce argued that in a radically scientistic-positivistic culture like the one that became dominant … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 20 days ago

I’m Over the American Homer

I’m not canceling Whitman. But my own enthusiasm for his poetry is waning. The poet whose daring versification and daring lifestyle were once seen as the epitome of counter-culture has come to seem to me all too mainstream, the very voice of an age of superficial egotism. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 21 days ago

The Paradox of American Places

Daniel Elazar was emphatic that a “renewed sense of localism” was essential to America’s future. For Americans, this means renewed intentionality about our local communities, not merely living in one place for a sustained period of time. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 23 days ago

Taborian Cultural Competence

How do you measure the beauty, fittingness, and purposefulness of Hewitt, his family, farm, and community? I hope no one tries to innovate an inventory to do it. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 24 days ago

Hemingway, All Too Human

The new things we learn about Ernest Hemingway in this documentary not only make him more interesting; they make his writing more remarkable. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 25 days ago

Infrastructure, Our Towns, and Opioids

“The American Jobs Plan Will Make Our Infrastructure Crisis Worse.” Over at Strong Towns, Charles Marohn has a multi-part essay responding to Biden’s infrastructure bill. Chuck gets to the root issues that real infrastructure investment needs to account for: I read the Fact Sheet … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 27 days ago

Self-Government Starts at the Front Porch

Rugged individualists need not be atomists; and there are compelling reasons why even Enlightenment liberals should be front porch republicans. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 28 days ago

The Classroom as Sanctified Space: Human Formation away from the Screen

For the sake of human formation and flourishing, it is essential to carve out sanctified spaces of peace and refuge away from the mesmerizing pull of screens. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 29 days ago

Pedro Mendes with Ten Garments Every Man Should Own

My guest is Canadian menswear writer and broadcaster Pedro Mendes who operates the website The Hogtown Rake. I have followed Pedro for years on Instagram and also very much enjoyed his podcast series ‘Unbuttoned With Bruce Boyer.’ Pedro has an appreciation for classic men’s cloth … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

A Book Club for Cooperatives

A few months ago, we posted an invitation to participate in a virtual book discussion. That group is now hosting a discussion of a second book. Below is Zac Blanchard’s announcement of their next book. “Ownership is the path to realizing one’s selfhood. Pity the jobholders.” – Ab … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

A Testament to Friendship

Canadian author and broadcaster, David Cayley, who conducted two lengthy radio interviews-turned-books with Illich (in 1988 and 2000) and had a decades-long friendship with him, has written a gripping and unconventional biography of this deeply unconventional man. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Larry McMurtry: Myth Killer, Myth Keeper

Whether he takes us to the Texas frontier or to 1970s Houston, his prose never gets in the way of his story. He moves ahead with the precision and simplicity of one of the McMurtry boys telling a story on the front porch of the family ranch house in Archer County, Texas. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Current, Infernal Liberty, and Barry Lopez

“Rooting for the Future.” Current, a new website edited by FPR fellow-travelers Eric Miller and John Fea, is now live. Eric describes his vision for the website in his opening essay. Also among the opening slate of essays is “Rooting for the Future” by Susan McWilliams Barndt, a … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Teaching Banned Books: Huck Finn

The censorship of slavery no longer dictates Huck’s morality. Unlike Tom, Huck has begun to question his society’s standards, to weigh and consider what is just and right, and I hope that by reading this story, my students may follow him in this difficult endeavor. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Calvino’s Leonia and the Weight of History

The conservationist recognizes that the society we live in, as much as the natural world we live in, was given to us as a gift with the demand that we pass it on to future generations, and therefore it is neither easily discarded nor above reproach. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Larry McMurtry and Wendell Berry at the Dairy Queen

McMurtry couldn’t quite set the Bowie knife to the scalp of the Western like Cormac McCarthy did the same year, maybe because he knew those people weren’t grotesque caricatures; they were people he’d known and loved. And when he died last week, he was probably the last person in … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Grace Olmstead on Uprooted, Place, Idaho, and Prairie Lupines

Fidelity to place needn’t (and shouldn’t) result in stuckness, a condemnation of ever moving at all. But we must beware falling into that second trap: rejecting roots altogether. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Small-Town News, a New MFA, and the CSA Boom

“How Can We Encourage Doctors to Come Home and Serve Well?” Nicholas Brennecke draws on Wendell Berry to consider how the medical profession might encourage young doctors to serve their communities. “Putting Down Roots.” Patrick T. Brown praises Gracy Olmstead’s new book, but he … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Communitarianism, Left and Right

Populism can in fact be seen as being precisely a reassertion of democracy against the anti-democratic tendencies of managerial, technocratic elites. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Cesar’s Circus

The purpose of politics is to accrue power. Chavez knew this reality, and perhaps his funeral was his last, best opportunity to control the stage and direct the players. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Should We Begin To Reconnect?

Add the past year on to this already disturbing trend, and such destructive realities have only been further exacerbated. The need for human sociality is not a deficiency, nor is it something that we can just put on hold for an indefinite amount of time. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Uprooted with Grace Olmstead

My guest this episode is Grace Olmstead. Grace has done excellent work for several years on issues of localism, just the sort of thing we like to talk about on Cultural Debris. Like your humble host, she is a devotee of Wendell Berry’s works, and her new book Uprooted is a chroni … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Stories That Bind Us

Despite differences that are exacerbated at the national level, we often share significantly more in common with our “enemy” when we interact with them at human scales. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Aesthetics, Infrastructure, and the Rule of St. Benedict

“A Common Good Conservatism for the Common Man.” Anthony Hennen reviews a new edition of The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge and praises Coolidge as “a standard-bearer for a certain strand of American conservatism: A belief in the importance of institutions, the value of free ma … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

When Innovation Runs Out: The Vindication of Maintenance

The Innovation Delusion goes a long way toward demystifying and destigmatizing the ordinary yet essential work of maintenance. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

The Professor and the Madman: Cancel Culture, Consequences, and Restorative Justice

Our society may sometimes be divided on how to define right and wrong, but that has not dampened enthusiasm for identifying wrongdoing. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Atticus, Scout, and the Gift of Children: On Reading To Kill a Mockingbird with my Daughter in 2020

This is the humbling gift our children offer. If we seek to shape their character, at some point in the journey we’ll find ourselves backed into a corner, faced with our own hypocrisy. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

John de Graaf, Affluenza, and Stewart Udall

Summary Filmmaker John de Graaf pulls up a chair to discuss his 1997 documentary Affluenza; a forthcoming project on Arizona politician and JFK/LBJ’s Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall; the politics of beauty; and a whether John Muir should be cancelled.  Singer/songwriter W … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

The Seven Ranges

I go forth strangely heartened and even hopeful that I might succeed in my attempt to describe and perhaps even explain the hill country presently looming off our port bow. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Small Colleges, Hank the Cowdog, and Phatic Protest

“Small-Town Natives Are Moving Back Home.” Gracy Olmstead writes about several college-educated young people choosing to move back to their hometowns, and she points to the work of organizations like Lead for America that are encouraging individuals to do so.  “Using Commercial B … | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago

Pigs and Hollies and Swamps, Oh My!: Corrymeela Ranch, Limestone County, Texas

Corrymeela is a dreamscape, a landscape that I marvel at every time I go out there. If conservation consists of loving something—a tract of land, a garden, a wood—then my hope is to love this land even more intensely into its full God-created glory. | Continue reading

@frontporchrepublic.com | 1 month ago