The Phoenix in the Ashes of the Culture Wars
The simultaneous appearance of three seminal books surveying the landscape of what some now call “post-Christian America” has been both welcome and frustrating. Welcome, because each confirms a deepening sobriety concerning what Richard John Neuhaus once called the American Babylon. And frustrating, because reviewers have tended to blur the contributions of each book by discussing them together rather than singly.
Adding to that frustration, each of these works – Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, Anthony Esolen’s Out of the Ashes, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s Strangers in a Strange Land – further joins a conversation started and augmented by still other books, as the Archbishop has pointed out elsewhere. So in the interest of putting asunder what critical sluggishness has joined together, we might meditate a bit during this Easter Week on one book in particular, Strangers in a Strange Land – because it is above all a work of hope, appearing in a moment when many Western Christians could use some.