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The Anabaptist Malcolm Gladwell

Sarah Pulliam Bailey interviewed Malcolm Gladwell about his new book, David And Goliath, and his return to the Mennonite Christianity of his family. Excerpt:

Q: What are some other examples of faith influencing power?

A: The final two chapters of the book also deal with faith: one about a woman who forgives her daughter’s murderer and one about the Huguenots in France who defy the Nazis in World War II. In both cases, people were able to do extraordinary things because they were armed with faith. They were able to perform acts of courage because they came from godly traditions. In both cases, there are people who had been through enormous adversity and had survived — more than survived, thrived.

Q: Is it true you grew up in an evangelical home?

A: Yeah. I grew up in southwestern Ontario in the heart of a Mennonite community. All my family are part of the Mennonite church. I joked at [the recent evangelical conference] Catalyst that I’m the only member of my family who had never delivered a sermon. Everyone has been to seminary, been a lay preacher, the list is very, very long in my extended family of people who have had opportunities to give a sermon. My joke at Catalyst was that it was my sermon; I finally got to give one.

Q: If your family is still religious, are you?

A: I’ve had a different journey. I had drifted away a little bit. This book has brought me back into the fold. I was so incredibly struck in writing these stories by the incredible power faith had in people’s lives, it has made a profound impact on me in my belief. That’s been the completely unexpected effect of writing this book. I am in the process of rediscovering my own faith again.

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about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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