Author of The Benedict Option and senior editor at The American Conservative
What is one argument you make in The Benedict Option that has been broadly misunderstood or misrepresented in media coverage?
Oh, this one is as easy as it is frustrating: People thinking that I’m calling for Christians to head for the hills and build compounds to hide out from the world. The book doesn’t say that at all, but you’d be surprised to see how many people criticize the book for saying that, even though they haven’t read the thing. It’s just forehead-slapping stuff.
What we believers today have to do is to live in this post-Christian world in such a way that we develop the inner strength to suffer anything before betraying God. That requires us to live with a certain distance from the mainstream. If we are going to be salt and light to the world, we cannot allow ourselves to be assimilated to its ways.
What was your favorite Louisville restaurant during your visit?
Jack Fry’s. Do they have any other restaurants in Louisville? None that I care to know about. Though I can’t miss the opportunity to say how much I enjoyed eating at the Louisville branch of the Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s.
Boyce College professor Denny Burk took me there for green chile enchiladas. They were hot as blazes, and delicious. I especially enjoyed how poor professor Burk had to order a glass of milk to cool off his burning mouth. Bless his heart, that old boy’s been out of south Louisiana too long.
You spent several years as a film critic for various publications, including the New York Post. What movie received the highest praise from you?
The one film that stands out in my mind today is Fargo, the 1996 Coen brothers film. It’s a fairly violent drama — with elements of pitch-black comedy — about how a ratty little car salesman’s attempt to extort his wealthy father-in-law goes very, very wrong. I’ve seen the movie seven or eight times, and it remains one of my all-time favorites. Aside from being a compelling story, I have been fascinated all these years with what the story has to say about sin. There is something in that film about the mystery of iniquity, but also the heroism of ordinary decent people who just get up and do their jobs. Funny, but I still don’t know why Fargo, of all the movies I saw as a professional critic, has stuck with me.