The name

Precipice indicates that America, Western civilization and the world generally are close enough to a yawning abyss to see its terrifying vastness. It’s an abyss with cultural, political, economic and spiritual dimensions.

I so named it knowing the risk that it would come across like yet another Debbie Downer outlet in a world in which happiness is at a premium. But pointing out evidence of my premise is not the aim. The question before us is, on what grounds might we hope?

You won’t find pat answers. I consider myself a Christian - albeit a rather crummy one - but I don’t serve up platitudes, cliches about how since all is well in the eternal realm we needn’t fret about our current juncture, or attempts to recruit the uncommitted.

Rather, I invite you to join me on a journey, a search for genuinely solid ground, on which we can plant our feet and not feel perilously close to free fall.

If our toes are truly gripping the edge of the precipice, is there time for such a search?

I’d argue that there is no other sensible use of our time.


I’m a journalist. I mostly write magazine features. Profiles of interesting people are my favorite. I love the arc of an interview conversation and the art of picking up on clues from interview subjects.

I’m also a musician, a jazz guitarist. I can find lucrative gigs, but I’m well aware I’ve chosen a musical life that isn’t going to pay a lot of bills.

I’m an adjunct lecturer in jazz history and rock and roll history at my local community college.

I realize blogs are not as fashionable as they were at the outset of this century, but I maintain mine, Late in the Day, which I started in 2012. It’s where I write posts that tend to be shorter and more link-rich, and where the focus is more on sorting out the ideological fault lines of our time as they manifest themselves in particular developments.