Minister’s Column, September 2019

Finding time to read books, for me, is a challenge. I’m mostly retired – why can’t I find the time? Kerry and I, over the past several years, have gradually cut back on periodicals, but I still can’t keep up with them. I managed recently to finish a rather short book: This America : The Case for the Nation, by Jill Lepore. She’s a history professor at Harvard and writes for the New Yorker. She explains, historically, the concept of the nation; reviews the history of our nation, including the ugly parts; and argues against nationalism and in favor of liberalism and American civic ideals. Lepore is also the author of a review of six different books in the August 9 issue of the Times Literary Supplement (“Taking History Personally: Modernity and the Continuing Rise of Conspiracy Theories”).
The book I picked up after finishing Lepore’s is A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism, by Adam Gopnik, another New Yorker writer. I’m up to page 11 (see “The Subjection of Women” by Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill). I took it with me yesterday morning to read while waiting my turn for blood tests and again in the afternoon when I accompanied Kerry for her driver’s license renewal. In both instances I hadn’t caught up with what’s on my phone when my time was up. I hope eventually to get to his chapters “Why the Right Hates Liberalism” and “Why the Left Hates Liberalism.”
Next in line, if I ever finish the Gopnik, is Michael Eric Dyson’s What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America. Having read Dyson’s Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, I didn’t want to miss his latest. And if you’re wondering how all this relates to Unitarian Universalism, see the late Rev. Forrest Church’s The American Creed: A Spiritual and Patriotic Primer.

Rev. Dave Hunter

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