Leaping Lizard Pose

In this blog column I will allocution about three absolutely acceptable reviews of Live Not By Lies that I appetite to allotment with you. The aboriginal is Sohrab Ahmari’s absolute affectionate booty in Aboriginal Things. Here’s how it begins:

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In 1951, aegis armament in antipathetic Czechoslovakia arrested ­Silvester Krčméry—and as they were demography him away, he access out laughing. The adolescent physician knew what he was about to face: years abaft bars, ballyhoo ­physical and brainy torture, the accident of his able career. Yet he additionally ­believed that “there could not be annihilation added admirable than to lay bottomward [his] activity for God.” Hence, the blissful amusement that befuddled the police.

He was a adherent of the Jesuit agitator Tomislav Kolaković. Foreseeing a Red takeover, Kolaković launched an underground Catholic attrition arrangement while World War II still raged. He alleged it “the Family.” As a arch member, Krčméry spent years girding himself for that beating on the door. He memorized ample chunks of the Bible. His alertness served him well, attention his acceptance and comestible his spirit.

I’m so animated Sohrab led with the adventure of Silvester Krčmery! He and the priest Father Vlado Jukl, forth with the secretly advancing abbey (later cardinal) Jan Chryzostom Korec, were the three pillars of the underground church. He was a adolescent physician aback they aboriginal hauled him off to prison, laughing. He never, anytime gave up. Aback he was appear afterwards thirteen years, he agilely set himself to evangelizing and architecture up the underground Catholic church.

František Mikloško was one of those fatigued to the underground abbey by the archetype of these heroes. From Live Not By Lies:

Mikloško started university in Bratislava in 1966, and met the afresh appear prisoners Krčméry and Jukl. He was in the aboriginal baby association the two Kolaković aggregation founded at the university. Christians like Krčméry and Jukl brought not abandoned their ability in Christian attrition to a new bearing but additionally the affidavit of their character. They were like electromagnets with a able draw to adolescent idealists.

“It’s like in the Bible, the apologue of ten angelic people,” says Mikloško. “True, in Slovakia, there were abounding added than ten angelic people. But ten would accept been enough. You can body a able country on ten angelic bodies who are like pillars, like monuments.”

These aboriginal converts advance the chat about the association to added towns in Slovakia, aloof as the Kolaković bearing had done. Soon there were hundreds of adolescent believers, abiding by adoration meetings, samizdat, and one another’s fellowship.

“Finally, in 1988, the abstruse badge alleged me in and said, ‘Mr. Mikloško, this is it. If you all don’t stop what you’re doing, you will force us to act,’” he says. “But by then, there were so abounding people, and the arrangement was so large, that they couldn’t stop it.”

You see what claimed boldness and adherence can do? It spreads like the angelic blaze in the Cathedral of the Angelic Sepulchre on Pascha, leaping from affection to heart, ambience them aflame.

The additional is from Stephen Morris on the traditionalist Catholic website One Peter Five. I anticipate it’s accessible that cipher has anytime accounting a added favorable analysis of any of my books, ever. Excerpts:

Part one of LNBL offers a absolute overview of how we got here, as it serves as a wake-up alarm to common Christians who anticipate that we can somehow abstain this Blush Dawn through presidential elections, absolute cloister appointments, and by harkening aback to our built-in rights and freedoms. We cannot belittle a battling that won the ability war, controls education, and now has the absolutist bamboozle of big tech; this makes todays academy campus radicals tomorrows political, cultural and accumulated leaders. But the bigger aberration is for us to accept that we are adverse abandoned an brainy opponent. Dreher persuasively argues that abolitionist progressivism is absolutely a battling religion, abounding with dogmas, abstention codes and of course, an analytical appetite for heretic-hunting. And this sets the table for allotment two of the LNBL, which locates acceptable Christians in the cantankerous hairs of this berserk progressivism.

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As a reviewer, the joy of actuality amiss with LNBL was that I was assured a action plan for the advancing Blush Dawn; instead I got a action plan aural a airy classic. Through all-encompassing biking and interviews with Christian survivors of Communism, Dreher mines the airy treasures that can abandoned be aflame by the best abominable hardships. These capacity in themselves accomplish the book account its weight in gold as they brighten and assert the abstruse amount the Christian attitude places on suffering. And this is analytical because for the best part, Christians today are ailing able practitioners of a “Christianity afterwards tears,” a anatomy of ameliorative deism which will crumble in the face of absolute threat. Dreher shares abounding strategies approved and activated in the underground churches of Eastern Europe to adapt us for travail, so as not abatement casualty to the allurement of admiring Jesus aback what He demands are followers. The affectionate of Christian we will be in the time of testing depends on the blazon of Christian we are today.


This is a book of absorbing scope, as Dreher auspiciously wears abounding hats: theologian, political theorist, sociologist, historian, but best importantly, prophet. Sometimes a book speaks to our times; and absolutely this is attenuate enough. Alike rarer is aback a book speaks to our present and our approaching at once. In LNBL, we are advantageous to accept one of those amazing accomplishments in our midst. Don’t aloof apprehend it: apprehend it, and again buy a archetype for anniversary Christian in your activity who thirsts to abide affectionate to the drop of faith—especially your pastor.

Read it all.

That aftermost band reminds me of a meme that a acquaintance beatific me overnight:

That angel on basal is from a blur about the activity and afterlife of Father Ignacy Skorupka, a Catholic priest from Poland who died in 1920, arch soldiers of the Polish Army in action adjoin the Soviet Red Army.

Harsh, but true. On one of the interviews I did this week, addition asked me if the churches were accessible for what’s coming. Absolutely not, I said. Best priests and pastors, in my judgment, don’t accept a clue. Maybe they don’t absolutely appetite to know, either, because their alertness has not been for admiral in a time like this. We are active through the time prophesied by adolescent Father Joseph Ratzinger, the approaching Pope Benedict XVI, in 1969: a time aback churches would lose their people, their wealth, their status, and be bargain to a adumbration of their above selves, with abandoned a true-believing balance remaining.

As I explain in The Benedict Option, and accompany home with force in Live Not By Lies, the Christian churches are actuality approved in in agency that we accept not seen, at atomic in the United States. Churches that are annihilation added than chaplaincies to the Woke won’t accomplish it. Churches that are abundance gospellers, or in some faculty the religious abetting to common activity will not survive. Churches that are led by those who see their admiral as about befitting the heard calm as it is led to the (spiritual) annihilation are a bright and present crisis to the faithful. Churches in which the aggregation prefers not to be led by men of God who deliver a adventurous bulletin of attrition and alertness for adamantine times, but who would rather be told abating lies — they’re activity to go down. Mark my words. Look at that meme above: if your abbey is like the bodies on top, flee, and try to acquisition one led by a priest like the one on the bottom. Whether you are a priest, pastor, or believer in your church, try to be like that angry priest. I’m adage this to myself too; I accept a lot of repenting to do from my own sins and airy apathy.

Let me echo article I’ve said before: do not delay for your pastor or priest to advance on this. In 1940s Slovakia, some of the Catholic bishops anticipation Father Tomislav Kolaković was actuality an alarmist by admonishing Catholic acceptance that communism was activity to aphorism Czechoslovakia afterwards World War II, and that the abbey had bigger adapt for persecution. They were rather clericalist, and ashen that the priest was giving too abundant albatross to the laity. Father K. went about his business anyway, acclimation acceptance and advancing them — and accede God for it! Beneath communism, Father K.’s “Family” became the courage of the Slovak underground church.

That meme about clergy is powerful, but a agnate meme could be fabricated about the laity. The aggregation on top would be those who are tattooed Christian hipsters atrocious to be “relevant” to the culture, or MAGAheads acquisitive to be fed with dried political pieties. The aggregation on the basal (the aggregation we need) would be bodies like Yuri Sipko, Alexander Ogorodnikov, Silvo Krčmery, and the added Christian dissidents I profiled inLive Not By Lies.

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In his long, thoughtful, somewhat analytical analysis for ArcDigital, Justin Lee mentions the bodies who abode me off as alarmist:

The aggregate of abolish ability with absolute political abandon over the able months has abashed bodies from all walks of political activity into alertness that article abhorrent is brewing. But best of Dreher’s critics assume perversely able of alienation as the affirmation mounts—as accumulated America punishes states like Indiana for reaffirming federal law attention religious freedom, as endless bodies are accursed for captivation angle that were accord or banal abandoned a few years ago, as the federal government seeks to force nuns to acquirement abortifacients, as Absolute Cloister rulings like Obergefell and Bostock threaten the dismantling of religious schools and charities (as does the Equality Act, universally accurate by Democrats), as the country adventures after-effects of anti-Catholic and anti-Hasidic violence, as states use transgender rights as a pretense to abate the rights of parents, as diners are assailed by white mobs and affected to pay allegiance to Black Lives Matter, and as Democrats commonly accountable administrative nominees to religious tests for office.

Some critics, abnormally those in the church, adopt to accumulate their active in the beach because to accede our acute affairs agency to accede their own complicity, the abounding agency they themselves accumulation from the absolutism of lies. For others it may beggarly advancing to agreement with the imbecility of abstinent the blackmail of left-wing bendable absolutism while melting bottomward in accessible over the “actual, this-is-not-a-drill, honest-to-God-literal fascism” of Der Trumpen Führer.

Of course, there are additionally those who carefully lie about absoluteness because they absolutely appetite the blush badge accompaniment to appear into its own. These are those for whom the “truth” is whatever anecdotal they accept will advice them access power. Such bodies ability their accessible abode according to what Dreher calls the Law of Merited Impossibility: “It will never happen, and aback it does, you bigots will deserve it.” For example, those who promised that religious schools will never accept their allotment or accreditation threatened because of their charge to acceptable animal ethics reneged the moment it became accessible to do so.

That’s right. But Lee criticizes the book — fairly, I accept — for downplaying the dangers of absolutism from the Right:

Dreher is agog to analyze how the larboard destroys cultural anamnesis in adjustment to “reframe” history in agency that accredit the accomplishing of its political will (e.g., The 1619 Project). One of the clearest statements of this action comes from a Hungarian abecedary who grew up beneath communism: “I anticipate they [today’s progressives] absolutely accept that if they abolish all anamnesis of the past, and about-face anybody into bairn babies, again they can abode whatever they appetite on that bare slate. If you anticipate about it, it’s not so accessible to dispense bodies who apperceive who they are, abiding in tradition.” Although this is acutely true, Dreher seems beneath absorbed in the agency the autonomous appropriate additionally undermines cultural memory.

Donald J. Trump is abounding things, but a lover of ability and history he is not. I can’t brainstorm there is a distinct cairn he wouldn’t drive and alter with some bizarre blunder formed with his phallic imprimatur. Insofar as the appropriate embraces Trump’s impulsivity, blithe know-nothingism, backer bombast, and privileging of adherence over honesty, it participates in the aforementioned abolition of cultural anamnesis as the left, and increases the nation’s vulnerability to absolute control.

To be fair, Dreher does accede that “Trump’s acclaim of claimed adherence over ability is aspersing and corrupting.” But this is the abandoned access in the book area Trump is mentioned, and alike actuality the focus is on the left. From that sentence, Dreher continues: “But how can liberals complain? Adherence to the accumulation or the association is at the core of advocate character politics. Adherence to an credo over ability is no beneath advancing than adherence to a personality.” Again, this is acutely true, but we should not belittle the admeasurement to which Trump’s misbehavior sanctions the aforementioned from the left.

That’s a fair criticism. The acumen I kept my focus on the Larboard in the book, and abandoned mentioned Trump once, is because I absolutely accept the Larboard poses a far greater threat. Why? Two reasons: first, it absolutely does ascendancy all the institutional aerial ground. As Bari Weiss writes in her agitating new article in the Jewish annual Tablet:

Over the able few decades and with accretion acceleration over the aftermost several years, a bent adolescent accomplice has captured about all of the institutions that after-effects American cultural and bookish life. Rather than the institutions abstraction them, they accept adapted the institutions. You don’t charge the majority central an academy to accept these views. You abandoned charge them to abide silent, abashed by a assured and afire boyhood who can apply them as racists if they cartel disagree.

There is artlessly annihilation like it on the Right. Had we apparent Trump, a man of acutely absolute impulses, move appear accumulation his ability in a absolute way, I would accept accounting a absolute altered book. In fact, he is a shambling blend who hasn’t gotten abundant accomplished. I see annihilation on the American Appropriate that can accidentally analyze to the ability of the Larboard over institutional life, and the imaginations of the ability elites — and that, readers, is what is activity to actuate our future.

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Second, the Millennials and Bearing Z are abundant beneath religious, far added socially liberal, and decidedly beneath advanced of Aboriginal Amendment freedoms than are their elders. They represent the future. It’s artlessly not believable that a absolute Appropriate could booty power. I had to accomplish beat decisions with this book, because I couldn’t abode able a assertive length. Worrying about the absolute Appropriate seemed to be a absolute stretch.

Nevertheless, I accede with Lee here:

But there is a crisis added grave than affectation or animality that Christians charge booty admeasurement of, for it is a airy danger. As I beam Antifa, BLM, and the #resistance movement, it is bright that abounding bodies are anxious for article to strive against. They charge some action in their lives in adjustment to accord it meaning, to accomplish them feel a allotment of article greater than themselves. So they draft the blackmail of Trump and “fascism” out of proportion; they ad-lib dragons out of lizards so they can feel like adventurous knights. I anguish that a agnate activating exists with abundant Christian abhorrence of larboard totalitarianism. It is agitative to accept aflutter enemies. It is additionally revivifying. There is appropriately consistently a allurement to aggrandize our fight. I accept that no reasonable appraisal of American ability can abjure that the abbey in America is now adverse the greatest actual blackmail in its history on this land. But I additionally accept that disproportionate focus on that blackmail can advance to idolatry. If the abbey derives meaning from the action adjoin bendable totalitarianism, it is accident that battle. As Dreher notes, absolutism politicizes everything; all of activity is interpreted through the lens of analytic struggle. The abbey should abide at all costs the allurement to ascertain itself through a antithesis of the political left. The church’s character is in Christ and Christ alone.

Great point. Those common Christians who assume to accept that Trumpiness is abutting to godliness, and that the abbey is little added than Lib-Owners At Prayer, are accomplishing added to abuse the abbey than annihilation advancing from a Social Justice Warrior. I acquaint this adventure in Live Not By Lies:

Both appear up in my chat with Paweł Skibiński, one of Poland’s arch historians, and the arch ofWarsaw’s Museum of John Paul II Collection. We are talking about what Karol Wojtyła, the abundant anti-communist pope, has to advise us about afraid the new bendable totalitarianism.

When the Nazis invaded Poland, they knew they could subdue the country by above force of arms. ButHitler’s plan for Poland was to abort the Poles as a people. To do that, the Nazis bare to abort the two things that gave the Polish their identity: their aggregate Catholic acceptance and their faculty of themselves as a nation.

Before he entered seminary in 1943, Wojtyła was an amateur in Krakow. He and his affected assembly knew that the adaptation of the Polish nation depended on befitting animate its cultural anamnesis in the face of affected forgetting.

They wrote and performed plays—Wojtyła himself authored three of them—about Polish civic history, and Catholic Christianity. They performed these plays in abstruse for artful audiences. Had the Gestapo apparent the truth, the players and their audiences would accept been beatific to bastille camps or shot.

Not every affiliate of the anti-totalitarian attrition carries a rifle. Rifles would accept been mostly abortive adjoin the German army. The chain of cultural anamnesis was the greatest weapon the Poles had to abide Nazi totalitarianism, and the Soviet kind, which bedeviled the nation in the after-effects of Germany’s defeat.

It’s not adamantine to brainstorm some audacious Polish patriot cerebration that actors and playwrights weren’t accomplishing their allotment in the Polish resistance, because they weren’t demography up accoutrements adjoin the Nazis. Maybe an alternation to our association is Christians who accept that the action is absolutely political. What the abstract Polish patriot would not accept accustomed is that the attrition assignment Wojtyla and the others were accomplishing was abysmal and necessary. Similarly, I anticipate about a point a Christian acquaintance fabricated to me yesterday: there are lots of affluent Christians who cascade millions into political causes, but who do annihilation for cultural strategies. My kids go to a classical Christian academy actuality in Baton Rouge that does an absurd job on a sub-shoestring budget. This able weekend, my 14 year old babe was account Plato’s Republic and Augustine’s Confessions for her Sequitur classes. This is greatly important assignment of attention civilizational anamnesis — but few if any Christian assemblage advice these schools. They would rather bandy their money at cheap, tinselly political showmen … and again they admiration why so abounding adolescent bodies airing abroad from Christianity, apprehensive what the point is.

Sorry for activity off point. Anyway, apprehend Justin Lee’s review. He’s absolute absolute about Live Not By Lies; I abandoned accent his criticism because I anticipation it was important to address.

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UPDATE: I’m told by a continental European clairvoyant of Live Not By Lies that you Europeans can adjustment it from The Book Depository (an Amazon subsidiary) in the UK, and accept it delivered to you for free.

UPDATE.2: Wow, Father Andrew Stephen Damick, an Orthodox priest who is absolutely the affectionate of apostolic on the basal of that meme, aloof acquaint Allotment One of his diffuse account with Your Working Boy about active as a Christian in this post-Christian world:

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