In Jonathan Lear’s book, he puts front and center the paradox of how a culture carries on when everything which has sustained it has crumbled away, or—in the case of the Crow people—been taken from it.
Hart’s argument is forceful, analytically clear, and compelling, in that it begins where theology should properly begin: with God. I offer this commendation of Hart’s work not as a commendation of his conclusions, for four reasons which remain unanswered, and to my mind, must be accounted for. The second part of this review discusses these concerns.
The framing of the book is important, because it shifts the question away from moral agency, the analytical justice of God’s behavior, and biblical hermeneutics of the afterlife, and toward one singular question: the nature of God as the creator of all that is.
Meghan O’Gieblyn writes in collection of essays not as a journalist documenting the remnants of Christian culture, but as one who is a translator of a foreign land for wide-eyed secular observers.
For Lake, literature is not simply illustrative or instrumental to the task of diagnosing and combatting technocracy: it is the world within which we are cultivated. In the act of reading, we enter not only a set of illustrations which give us principles to live by, but also new parables which instruct, perplex, and guide us into new living. To learn how to be a new person, in other words, we must submit to the art of reading.
Whether such a vision of a nation banding together internally free from outside interference is the best way forward, I will leave for the reader to decide.