The Real News from Lake Wobegon
Peter J. Leithart on Charity, Conversation & Celebration
During nearly twenty years of sporadic listening to NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, I have often noticed how closely the structure of the program resembles a camp meeting revival. Well-tuned as host Garrison Keillor is to the melodies of American religious life, I am quite certain that the resemblance is deliberate.
Lively music, punctuated by mock commercials and skits of wildly varying success, dominate the first half of the show, but after intermission the liturgy of the word begins in earnest. More music primes the audience, which is sometimes invited to sing along with Keillor. Expectation builds to the dramatic moment when Keillor announces, “It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, my home town . . .”, always greeted by thunderous applause.
THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:
Peter J. Leithart is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and the president of Trinity House Institute for Biblical, Liturgical & Cultural Studies in Birmingham, Alabama. His many books include Defending Constantine (InterVarsity), Between Babel and Beast (Cascade), and, most recently, Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor University Press). His weblog can be found at www.leithart.com. He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.
Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!
Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
more from the online archives
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor