An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America
Description: We live in a profoundly spiritual age--but in a very strange way, different from every other moment of our history. Huge swaths of American culture are driven by manic spiritual anxiety and relentless supernatural worry. Radicals and traditionalists, liberals and conservatives, together with politicians, artists, environmentalists, followers of food fads, and the chattering classes of television commentators: America is filled with people frantically seeking confirmation of their own essential goodness. We are a nation desperate to stand on the side of morality--to know that we are righteous and dwell in the light. Or so Joseph Bottum argues in An Anxious Age, an account of modern America as a morality tale, formed by its spiritual disturbances. And the cause, he claims, is the most significant and least noticed historical fact of the last fifty years: the collapse of the Mainline Protestant churches that were the source of social consensus and cultural unity. Our dangerous spiritual anxieties, broken loose from the churches that once contained them, now madden everything in American life. Jody is here to make his case.
One of the nation’s most widely published and influential essayists—and author of The Christmas Plains, classic reflections on the meaning of Christmas and the American prairie. Bottum, whose writing has appeared in The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, is the former literary editor of The Weekly Standard and editor in chief of First Things. He holds a PhD in medieval philosophy and has done television commentary for programs from NBC's Meet the Press to the PBS Evening News. Bottum Lives with his family in the Black Hills of South Dakota.