First, to the many of you who wrote kind notes to me concerning the death of my father, my thanks and gratitude. I'm back and looking forward to a school year with my long-suffering students.
Our contributing editor John Fea has been active here and on his own blog with updates on religion and presidential politics. John's book The Way of Improvement Leads Home has just received a wonderful review from the prolific Lauren Winner at Books And Culture -- no link yet, so just subscribe already. Lauren addresses the broader issue of how the life of Phillip Vickers Fithian speaks to the issue of what happens when the provincial encounters the cosmopolitan -- the can you go home again question. She writes:
Though firmly embedded in the particulars of the 18th century, the story Fea tells has resonance today. That is one of the many reasons I so love this book -- Fithian's problem is no less acute today for men and women whose education takes them geographically and imaginatively beyond their local communities. . . we may flatter our post-modern selves by imagining that we have moved beyond the Enlightenment, now ironically criticized for its parochialism. But the tensions between cosmopolitan aspirations and local commitments are with us still.
Reminds me also of John's recent post about whether Joe Biden's rootedness in working-class Catholic PA will offset Obama's cosmopolitan persona.