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The Trip So Far

Notes from Ben Op trip to Washington and Charlottesville

Hey, look who Mr. Bigtime Needs A Haircut had lunch with on Saturday in Georgetown: the mighty Ken Myers, of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. This selfie taken after our talk onstage at the university. We had dinner again tonight, this time in Charlottesville, Va., closer to his home. I have decided to commit my mighty powers to conjuring up MarsHillapalooza, a festival of all things Ken Myers. We will gather in Charlottesville, and it will feature talks by Journal greats like Alan Jacobs, Ralph C. Wood, James K.A. Smith, and many others. It’ll be like a Walker Percy Weekend of the upper South. We will find the funding for this thing and make it happen!

I am in C’ville tonight, and am about to go to sleep, so no time for a long entry. Quick notes from meetings and conservatives on the DC-C’ville trip so far:

1. Religious conservatives aren’t going to get any help from Republicans. Not on religious liberty, or anything else. The Left in Congress is in no mood to compromise, because they’re on a roll. There’s no stomach on the Right in Congress to fight, because business doesn’t want anything to do with it, and because if members say one thing wrong, they’ll be crucified as bigots in the media, and on social media. We’re on our own. Best thing to do, I’m learning, is vote Republican in hopes that better policies will be made from the executive branch, and better judges will be nominated. That’s about it.

2. A law professor told me that the kinds of things that go out on legal listservs he reads gives you an idea of what’s going to be mainstream 20 years from now. “Some of it is so horrifying I don’t feel right talking about it,” he said. Oh come on, I said, what? “Legalizing bestiality,” he said.

3. In a discussion of the problem of authority and the Benedict Option, a young DC lawyer told me about her bad experience with it. She was raised in a severely restrictive homeschool community that followed the teachings of Bill Gothard and Vision Forum. Really far-out-there groups and ways of thinking. Both were later disgraced by sex scandals. After a related blow-up at Patrick Henry college, her faith was shattered. She got it back together, and is a lot wiser today. She said one of the most important things I heard all weekend:

“Whenever you go looking for strong, clear, unbending authority, you’re going to find Bill Gothard.”

4. Some intriguing Ben Op stuff going on at Trinity Presbyterian in C’ville. Will learn more tomorrow.



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