Living in a Calvinist church environment, I sometimes find it helpful to remember Franky Schaeffer’s ideas in his book Addicted to Mediocrity.
To simplify a bit, he maintains that habits of thought and taste that are obviously shoddy hold a certain comfort for people who are attracted to them.
He speaks a lot about the arts in the Christian church and that’s sort of my starting point as well so I relate to what he has to say.
I have also read some of his father’s stuff which is intellectually conservative and influential in world wide intellectual Calvinist circles.
I own this book (God knows where it is right now… my books are in disarray).
I know Schaeffer the younger eventually landed in the Orthodox camp. I have read several of his books. I think he may have influenced my thinking more than I can explicitly determine.
I know his description of his childhood experience of religion is one that reminded in some ways of my own. The bad taste of the church paraphernalia shops (reminding me of my own experience “camp meetings”), the intellectual dad. His dad was obviously more of an intellectual than mine, but still my dad was an sort of intellectual pariah in his denomination to the point he was officially omitted from church directories in Ohio.
I have moved away from a lot of church stuff. At least now I am more interested in scholarship and the arts in the church. I do see it all through the prism of my own personality and past which inevitably situates it in historical music and popular culture of the USA.
But as I sometimes say, “church has been very very good to me.” My church work allowed me to make a living on the periphery not having to plunge into the crazy morass of its world or the academic world or the popular music world.
This is one of the reason I feel so lucky. I am able to dabble in the things things I love like music, books and ideas. This fits me. Good thing since I’ve not found another place where I fit in besides the ballet classroom or surfing the huge reference resources of the internet.
I am lucky to continue in these spaces and also spend hours with the music I love.
After reading this obit, I Spotified Rossini operas and played them while I burned Eileen’s pot roast.
Lengthy online portrait I am reading.
I watched some of Taylor Branch’s fascinating speech recently given at 13th annual National Book Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC. He is a historian of the Civil Rights movement and has insights about where we are now. Recommended.