Episode 98 – The Deep Places with Ross Douthat
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat joins Josh Lewis to talk about his recent memoir The Deep Places. His book tells of his recent journey in battling chronic Lyme disease and his reflections on illness, discovery, and hope.
Ross’ story begins prior to the illness in which he was attempting to build the life he’d always dreamed of. “At that moment in my life I only really believed in upside…I wrote my share of words on the problem of evil…usually making the case that much of American Christianity offers people the wrong answers, encouraging them to believe that actually bad things shouldn’t happen if you’re good, that the American Dream should be yours if you just stay in God’s good graces and follow the paths that He’s marked out.”
“I had a similar critique of the secular meritocracy in which I had been educated: that because it asked its climbers to work so hard and jump so high, it encouraged an idea that we had somehow earned all our privileges, that our SAT scores and extracurricular accomplishments meant that we genuinely deserved to rule.”
“But despite these critiques, there was still a sense in which I believed exactly these ideas myself—or at least for myself—as I passed through college into adulthood, achieved the career as a writer that I wanted, won the wife I wanted, the job I wanted, the kids I wanted, and now the house and country life I wanted, too.”
Yet life had other plans for Ross as he’s spent the past six years battling an invisible enemy that’s robbed much of the life he’d built. His book offers profound insights into what we can make of our sufferings and how to keep hope in hopeless situations.
About Ross Douthat
Ross Douthat joined The New York Times as an opinion columnist in April 2009. His column appears every Tuesday and Sunday. Previously, he was a senior editor at The Atlantic and a blogger on its website. He is also a nonresident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies American politics, culture, religion, and family life.
A prolific writer, Ross has written for The Atlantic and National Review and has been published widely in the popular press. In addition to The Deep Places, he is also the author of five other books: “The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success”; “To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism”; “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics”; “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream”, which he coauthored with Reihan Salam; and “Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class”.
Ross has a BA in history from Harvard University. He lives with his wife and four children in New Haven. You can follow Ross on Twitter @DouthatNYT