Eric Metaxas On ‘Little Way’
The terrific Evangelical writer and Paul Lynde connoisseur Eric Metaxas has some wonderful things to say about The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming on The Chuck Colson Center’s Breakpoint radio broadcast. Excerpt:
They were stunned by the simple, practical faith they experienced. Ruthie, always helping others, received help from them now, accepting her illness as God’s will. “The love that had sustained Ruthie through her cancer, and that now surrounded and upheld her family,” Rod writes, “came from somewhere.” Rod saw Ruthie’s death reveal a “bright sadness.” “I was able to see,” he writes, “the effect of Ruthie’s love, given and returned, in steadfast acts of ordinary faith, hope, and charity. The little way of Ruthie Leming is the plainest thing in the world, something any of us could choose.”
Rod and Julie, sensing a longing, chose to move back to Starhill to support, and be supported by, imperfect but incredible people. It was messy, as family things often are, but it was real. After Ruthie died, Mike, a man of few words, said, “We’re leaning, but we’re leaning on each other.” Rod and Julie were drawn to this loving community.
“To look upon beauty that powerful,” Rod says, “is to receive a calling and a command to change your life—and that can make you afraid. It can always be refused, but grace like that doesn’t come often.” So Rod began to work through his own lingering hurts, tears, and need to seek forgiveness from others in his past.
“Contemporary culture,” Rod says, “encourages us to make islands of ourselves for the sake of self-fulfillment, of career advancement, of entertainment, of diversion, and all the demands of the sovereign self. When suffering and death come for you… you want to be in a place where you know, and are known.” Friends, this isn’t about Rod Dreher. We also need to put down roots and build relationships so we can share the love of God, minister, and be ministered to. We need to be, not just to do. And that takes time.
I urge you to get a copy of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming. It’s an amazing book. We have it at The Colson Center Bookstore. It’ll probably make you cry; it will certainly make you think. And if you sense the call of God to re-establish yourself in a community, well, it just may change your life.
I can’t thank Eric enough for what he’s done for this book. It was Eric who invited me to be part of the Socrates In The City event on the day of publication, launching Little Way‘s book tour. It is a real joy to see Eric’s success withBonhoeffer and his latest book, 7 Men And The Secret Of Their Greatness (M. Lynde is not among the seven, surely an oversight by the author).
I’ll tell you a story about Eric. Julie and I met him and his wife Suzanne at the Au Bon Pain on the Upper East Side back in 1998. We went there after church one Sunday, and found ourselves at a common table, sitting next to this guy who was doing an amazing job defending Christianity against a stereotypically supercilious French atheist. It was a pleasure listening to the man, who spoke so wittily, patiently, and intelligently to the Frenchman. This was, of course, Eric. We left the cafe talking to Eric and Suzanne, and have been friends since then. You will not be surprised to learn that Eric and I discovered a mutual fascination with ’70s pop culture. The man is an encyclopedia. If I said “Bert Convy,” he could talk for half an hour, and make you double over laughing.
Eric has become enormously successful in recent years, but back then, he was struggling as a writer and as a Christian to make something of his substantial gifts, and be true to his vocation. Eric struggled for a long, long time with chronic fatigue, the seriousness of which I didn’t fully appreciate until I had to deal with it myself. I don’t know that I’ve ever known a writer who has endured as much as Eric has for his craft (I should give a shout-out to Suzanne; as a writer, I know all too well how our spouses suffer with us). His success is well-deserved, and not only that, it’s so encouraging to know that sometimes, the truly good guys really do come out on top.