Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Crunchy Cons: Home

My neighbors, the Klinefelters, are a part of Vinyard Central church. Vineyard Central is described as a “network of house churches”, and I’ve come to love and respect a lot of what the house church is all about because of them. However, a part of Vinyard Central’s ethos is rooted in the idea of intentional community. The church owns a house over in Norwood where about a dozen or so folks live together in covenanted community – singles, couples with kids, and married folks all share meals, take part in the cleaning, and enjoy times of devotion together. Additionally, in the blocks all around that house, members of Vineyard Central have been buying homes and renting – all in an attempt at creating an intentional community of like minded believers who are reaching out to the neighborhood together.

In Crunchy ConsRod Dreher touches on this idea of intentional community in his chapter on “Home”. The chapter as a whole, as often in the book, feels kind of preachy – Dreher is advocating lifestyle change and prodding his readers to think about personal lifestyle decisions. His target in this chapter is upon living choice. He starts in simply on homes and architecture – taking us on a tour through the Arts and Crafts movement that arose as a reaction against Victorian lavishness and opulence. The principles of Arts and Crafts were mainly on simplicity, functionality, and elegance.

The American expression of the Arts and Crafts movement took these principles and married them with the efficiency of mass production – thus producing well crafted, sturdy, and aesthetically pleasing furniture and homes – all designed to be affordable to the ordinary person. Sears and Roebuck even got in on the game – they had a Bungalow home that one could order from their catalog – designed in the Arts and Crafts style. (Interestingly, a family in our congregation, the Heidenreichs, owns a Sears and Roebuck bungalow – it’s a lovely home that fits the description of the movement completely.)

Honestly, I have some real difficulties with this chapter – not with the concepts. However quite honestly, housing prices make it very difficult for families to choose both aesthetics, value, safety, and good school district. The most important concept of this chapter lies in intentionality – being intentional about home layout, design, décor and community. Looking forward to your thoughts on home.

Soli Deo Gloria

Index of interesting Links:
Other reviews
* Jonah Goldberg from National Review -- a withering attack (while admitting there's lots of good in the book)
* Kevin Holtsberry from RedState online
* Maxwell Goss of Right Reason gives one of the more balanced critiques I've read.
* The Wall Street Journal's review
* Michael Dougherty giving a reasoned and balanced critique.

Crunchy Con resources
* Weston A Price foundation for wise traditions in food, farming, and healing.
* Slow Food Movement
* Atheists, Agnostics, and Conservatives by Amy Welborn – a good view of the difference between faithbased crunchy cons and uberlibertarian agnostic cons
* Joe Carter's Evangelical Outpost on materialism and Jesus Junk
* Russell Kirk Center
* Rod Dreher’s Crunchy Con blog
* The Immaculate Direction a blog that is very crunchy connish
* Cerulean Sanctum’s series relating the book to 21st century Christian life. Very thoughtful and thought provoking.