January 25, 2013

Why I Wrote 'Blessed Are the Contrarians'

I wrote this note for a Group at Goodreads.com called “The reasons why you wrote your book or books,” but I think it fits here, too.

There is no specific reason why I wrote Blessed Are the Contrarians, nor was there ever even any decision to write it. In fact, as the subtitle reads, my book is a Diary of a Journey Through Interesting Times. I mean, I didn’t originally want to “write a book,” I just came to the decision of writing a blog, that is an online diary, or a daily pulpit, or whatever you want to call it. The book is just a side-effect, so to speak, of the original purpose of creating and maintaining a blog.

As a matter of fact, I have collected in this volume some of the pieces which I have posted on my blog over the last few years, namely the most suitable to this traditional mode of communication. As a result, Blessed Are the Contrarians is a kind of diary of a journey through our time (politics, culture, lifestyles, worldviews, etc.). And, I would add, back home again, where “home” stands for a sense of belonging to something stronger than the spirit of our times. In other words what this book is all about is explaining—though not in a systematic way—why I disagree with mainstream views in several areas. And this from a conservative and Christian point of view, that is to say the perspectives which, in turn, come under severe attacks from secular and progressive ideologies, namely the most influential schools of thought of our time.

To conclude, the question ‘Why did I write this book?’ should be changed to ‘Why did I decide to create a blog?’ And the answer is ‘Simply because I had to.’ Because everyone is called to witness to what they have seen and heard, and to what they believe in.

January 6, 2013

A Review of Blessed Are the Contrarians: Diary of a Journey Through Interesting Times

~ “LETTERS FROM AMERICA” - by The Metaphysical Peregrine ~

Yesterday finished reading Rob's Blessed Are theContrarians: Diary of a Journey Through Interesting Times. It's a worthwhile read, and a great reminder of ideas we often neglect in our busy lives. It's good to take some time to review events and ideas, especially with Rob's perspective of a Conservative and Christian. Fewer thinkers like him, especially in secularist Europe, are offering any alternative view of politics, religion, Christianity, literature, and philosophy. What he offers here, all in one place, is something different from the zeitgeist, the meme of the times. His title is apt.  

Being American, we don't get any news from Europe, let alone detailed history and analysis of what's happening there; especially Italy. That section of this book helps get a handle, as much as possible anyway, of how Italy manages to offer so many fine things, even be productive, with such a dysfunctional government. It also helps get a handle on European politics and how the political class there is consolidating power and the conflicts that arise from that.

I've been reading "The Windrose Hotel" for a few years (and am honored beyond words that I can contribute). What drew me to it initially was Rob's sense and sensibility, understanding of, explanation and explication of Augustine. Augustine has always been a tough slog for me, but Rob had, and has, a way of explaining Augustine's ideas that settles well. By the end of reading "Contrarians" I was on Amazon looking at Kindle downloads of Augustine's works. It's a good thing to have those writings all combined in this book; provides a clearer understanding.

There's a lot of coverage of art, something that is totally neglected in this country. Rob provides discussions of great artists, and why they're great, from both art history and personal perspectives. Art here in the US, and art writing, is dreadful.  It's great to have Rob's observations without the snobbishness prevalent here, just the critical eye and heartfelt appreciation.

The last of the book is about our Faith, Christianity. I was both moved and stimulated, and was making notes to myself of things to pursue, teach and write about. 

It's all here, ideas and reality, news and views, art and history, philosophy and perception, politics and religion. Sad that correct thinking is now contrary, but good that Rob's blog and this book makes the contrary accessible and understandable.