I’ve been enthralled with the ongoing conversation between Richard Dreyfuss and Suzannah Black, published in Providence magazine the last two months. Partly it is because I care about the issues they both raise, but also it is because I enjoy the process of discussing issues with those who will challenge my ideas and insist on an honest, clear expression of them. From the current issue:
to Susannah Black
June 20, 2015
How about this: we should find a journal, a monthly or something, reflective of Christian thought in American life; we should together be seeking a platform for an urgently needed focused discussion—between a fiercely intelligent person of faith and a person who has a deeply vested interest in saving the structure of the American secular system. We need to take this on the road, and make it standing room only, pointing attention at this tepid community we’ve become, and the muscular spiritually invested people we have been.
We have become so divided that just our dialogue would be a rarity—we come from differing starting points, but hopefully share a fear of a future where our system is weakened to the point of puffed up flab with no rigorous training in who we are, and in what our nation means in and to the world; and Susannah, make no mistake, America means something profound in this world. Not the present nation so confused and anxious and wounded by an assault on our senses by the noise of new technology and old greed, but the older idea of government controlled by the people themselves, who created the first nation that detailed its protection of faith, of merit in the individual…
Tell me that I don’t have to persuade you to something I deeply feel you already know, that we are in fact man’s last best hope, and that if we don’t take care, we will kick religious freedom and all the other freedoms into the void of history’s failures, be compelled to endure the limiting of our minds, the hate-filled worship of a God we are terrified into following and make up the legions of the forcibly converted… Tell me that you understand that we have to think our way through this (emphasis added) and we’ve tied our children’s hands, our politicians’ wisdom, to a point of apathy and dull observation of the theft of our savings, our security, our mobility of mind… And tell me you don’t hear in what I’m saying a childish ‘anti-religion’ stance. You’ve got to feel the horror I feel at the emptiness of our preparation of our kids. We treat them already as if we hate them, as if they’re the enemy; why else have we abandoned them?
And here is the first part of the conversation: