Settling for Mediocrity

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Settling for Mediocrity

Over at The American Conservative, Gracy Olmstead writes:

The truth is, the longer you are part of a church, the more you will begin to notice its dust and dimness, its fake smiles and half hugs. Many have memorized rituals that have no heart or purpose behind them. You will begin to see the church’s flaws, and they may frustrate or even disgust you. But if you seek church (or religious experience) somewhere else—reveling in all its polished “authenticity” and golden sheen—it will not take long before there, too, you will see the fatal flaws, the pretensions.

Olmstead’s intent is sincere, the picture almost beautiful, but the argument behind it sounds like: in order to eat, one must learn to love the taste of hardtack. It sounds like we must learn to settle for mediocrity. Sounds an awful lot like Lori Gottlieb’s piece from The Atlantic a few years back “The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.”

3 Reads for Friday


3 Reads for Friday

Organic Before It Was Cool” by Gracy Olmstead, The American Conservative

‘Gnarly, Weird Songs’ Suit Ray Wylie Hubbard Fine in Waco Trip” by Carl Hoover, Waco Tribune Herald

“Narrative Power: On the Writings of Robert Caro” by Kevin Haworth, Michigan Quarterly Review

Wendell Berry at South by Southwest

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Rod Dreher often refers to the work of Wendell Berry, as in this instance from The Little Way of Ruthie Leming:

“When a community loses its memory, its member no longer know one another,” writes the agrarian essayist Wendell Berry. “How can they know one another if they have forgotten or have never learned one another’s stories? If they do not know one another’s stories, how can they now whether or not to trust one another? People who do not trust one another do not help one another, and moreover they fear one another. And this is our predicament now.” [1]

Now, according to Gracy Olmstead at The American Conservative, Austin filmmaker Laura Dunn has made a documentary about Berry that’s to debut at South by Southwest:

The Seer, a new documentary about writer Wendell Berry, set to be released at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival on Saturday. The film is co-produced and directed with her husband, Jef Sewell, and backed by executive producers Terrence Malick and Robert Redford, as well as several co-producers including Nick Offerman (fondly known as Ron Swanson on the TV comedy series “Parks and Rec”).

Berry is a Kentucky-born farmer and philosopher, essayist and poet, environmental activist and localist. He’s written fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and has been the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

Read the whole thing over here.



[1] Dreher, Rod. The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life. NY: Grand Central Publishing. 2013. p. 208.