Ask Dreher Anything

by Chris Bodenner

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Long-time readers of the Dish know Dreher well. But for everyone else:

Rod Dreher was a conservative editorial writer and a columnist for The Dallas Morning News, but departed that newspaper in late 2009 to affiliate with the John Templeton Foundation. He wrote a blog previously called “Crunchy Con” at beliefnet.com, then simply called “Rod Dreher” with an emphasis on cultural rather than political topics. … Raised a Methodist, he later converted to Roman Catholicism in 1993. He wrote widely in the Catholic press, but covering the Roman Catholic Church’s child sex abuse scandal, starting in 2002, led him to question his Catholicism, and on October 12, 2006, he announced his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy.

You can follow Rod’s writing at his blog at the American Conservative. He also has a new book out, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life:

[The book] follows Rod Dreher, a Philadelphia journalist, back to his hometown of St. Francisville, Louisiana (pop. 1,700) in the wake of his younger sister Ruthie’s death. When she was diagnosed at age 40 with a virulent form of cancer in 2010, Dreher was moved by the way the community he had left behind rallied around his dying sister, a schoolteacher. He was also struck by the grace and courage with which his sister dealt with the disease that eventually took her life. In Louisiana for Ruthie’s funeral in the fall of 2011, Dreher began to wonder whether the ordinary life Ruthie led in their country town was in fact a path of hidden grandeur, even spiritual greatness, concealed within the modest life of a mother and teacher. In order to explore this revelation, Dreher and his wife decided to leave Philadelphia, move home to help with family responsibilities and have their three children grow up amidst the rituals that had defined his family for five generations – Mardi Gras, L.S.U. football games, and deer hunting.

Some praise for the book:

“If you are not prepared to cry, to learn, and to have your heart cracked open even a little bit by a true story of love, surrender, sacrifice, and family, then please do not read this book. Otherwise, do your soul a favor, and listen carefully to the unforgettable lessons of Ruthie Leming.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“The Little Way of Ruthie Leming is Steel Magnolias for a new generation.” -Sela Ward, Emmy Award-winning actress and author of Homesick

To submit a question for Rod, simply enter it into the above Urtak survey after answering all of the existing questions (ignore the “YES or NO question” aspect and simply enter any open-ended question). To vote, click “Yes” if you have a strong interest in seeing him answer the question or “No” if you don’t particularly care. View the results here. Thanks for your help.