How does any group, from large to small, create the "world" in which its people live? A world that includes not only a world-view in the mind, but a loyalty of the heart? A world that regenerates itself in each generation? A "world" that shapes the individuals into a people, a community? If a group must explicitly discuss and decide these questions, it is in serious trouble.

I grew up Primitive Baptist: a people-group shaped by a capella congregational singing, long extemporaneous sermons, shared meals, and visitation of members between churches. Shaped by a world-view of an omnipotent God who saves sinners because He decides to save sinners, apart from any efforts on the part of the sinner. As I argued in my book, The Formation of the Primitive Baptist Movement, the "world" of the Primitive Baptists was much more self-evident in a traditional, agrarian, pre-capitalist market society. Today, the Primitive Baptist world has trouble regenerating itself in each generation.

The author of this essay grew up Covenanter, a small Scottish Presbyterian group also in danger of losing their "world" in this new and modern world. The essay is brilliant, and gives a reading to Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow that I would never have seen on my own.

Thanks, Tocq, for calling my attention to this gem.

One also can reflect on how this community called America is shaped by a "world," and whether we have lost or are losing that world in the 21st century.