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December 1, 2009

Crunchy Con rides into the sunset

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/crunchy_con_rides_into_the_sunset_20091201/

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We’ve all been there: Saying our goodbyes to newspapering but promising to still be around for journalism. Now it’s Rod Dreher’s turn. The Crunchy Con is leaving the Dallas Morning News. What now? He’ll become director of publications for the John Templeton Foundation.

More from his Beliefnet blog:

My primary job there will be to create and edit an online magazine called Big Questions Online. It’s going to be a philosophically-oriented magazine that explores fundamental questions arising from science, religion, the free market and public ethics/morality—Templeton’s four big areas of focus. I’m tremendously excited about this opportunity to bring the great work Templeton does to the reading public, and to put together a webzine that’s intellectually diverse, lively and relevant to our public debates.

Readers may recall that I was a Templeton-Cambridge journalism fellow this past summer. That was my introduction to the work of the foundation. The two weeks I spent in June in Cambridge were among the most rewarding of my life. I heard from scholars and scientists—some religious, some atheist—who made me think hard and think differently about moral and philosophical questions. I’ll never forget that afternoon session with Dame Gillian Beer, who spoke about how the Victorians interpreted Darwin’s findings through the various lenses of popular culture. Similarly, John Gray’s presentation of how the Enlightenment shapes the New Atheism and its blind spots offered another perspective on how the pursuit of knowledge is conditioned by culture. I wrote to my friend Gary Rosen at Templeton telling him that I was amazed and impressed by the great work the foundation does, and that more people ought to know about it. As providence would have it, I’m now going to be in a position to make that happen, and to enrich the public conversation about important issues and questions of our time. While eating cheesesteak.

Not long ago, I went to the bookshelf where I keep the books I read for my Templeton Cambridge project (on Traditional Chinese Medicine and its metaphysical-religious basis), trying to find a quote for a column I was writing. I stood there looking at the spines of those books, and remembered how intellectually refreshed I was from that experience. And now I’m being offered the chance to do that sort of thing for a living.

No doubt the Templeton-Cambridge fellowship is a great one. During my newspapering days, I had hoped to find the right science and religion topic to pitch. Guess I missed my window ...

Dreher will keep blogging—“for at least a while”—but no longer as the Crunchy Con.

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