I was a sickly little kid through much of my time at Park Elementary School in Wichita, KS – especially the first grade -- so much so that my parents and I had to live within a couple of blocks, at most, of the school so it would be easy for my parents to walk me to class. (Dad worked and mom never learned to drive.) In fact, on a couple of occasions, including the time covered in this story, we literally lived next door to the school. I was not deathly ill with some life-threatening disease. It’s just that, for reasons too complicated to tell, my immune system was so weak that, if there were a single virus particle anywhere inside, say, the orbit of Neptune, I was sure to catch it. Like any kid, I wanted to play outside, but most of the time, I just didn’t have the energy. My mother consu
I left Christianity for a multitude of reasons, and, while I don’t mind talking about those reasons, a comprehensive catalog would be a major distraction from the main business at hand ... before the business at hand even begins. Besides, the salient issue, the drop of water that caused the glass to overflow, was – if I may revert to Christian terminology – a “vocational crisis”. Shortly after my wife Diane and I were married, we came to believe, through an intense time of prayer and reflection – we did that kind of thing back then -- that I was being “called” – a word I heartily abhor now, but … hey! … again, we talked and thought in these terms – to get my doctorate and to teach and to write on matters pertaining to the intersection of faith, culture, literature, and politics.
Say what you will about the conservative Republican vision for the Nation, it at least has the salient virtue of pristine consistency. The problem is that what this vision is consistent with is an era over 150 years in the past. Since the subject is conservatism in the early 21st-century mode, this is not terribly surprising. We are 60 years past the time of, say, President Eisenhower when the phrase “forward-looking conservatism” was not the oxymoron that it has now become. Rather, what is surprising is that the earlier paradigm which conservative Republicans are apparently using to model their policy proposals is a paradigm that was long ago soundly discredited: the Confederate States of America. In at least three broad areas of public policy – health insurance reform, hostility to union