L.D. Russell is a man of many talents–the kind of talents better left unspoken.
He teaches in the Religious Studies Department at Elon University in the illustrious town of Elon, North Carolina. His book Godspeed: Racing is My Religion details the life of a man obsessed with a religious culture’s obsession with NASCAR. He’s also the coolest dude I know. For that reason, and many others, it’s time for “Five Questions” with L.D. Russell.
1) If you had to make a quick getaway, say from the law, an estranged spouse, or an unforgiving husband, who would you choose to drive the getaway car: Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, or the late Dale Earnhardt?
Since Dale Earnhardt has not only won the Daytona 500 but also slipped the surly bonds of Earth and touched the face of God, not to mention at some point or another no doubt evading the law, an estranged wife, and an unforgiving husband, I’d gladly be his co-pilot.
2) If Jesus is my homey, then Siddhartha is my . . . ?
. . . bromantic partner.
3) Would I be cooler or, at least more lady-friendly, if I were a Taoist?
I am a Taoist and a recovering Baptist to boot — talk about your yin and yang — and I must say the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu does make one cooler headed, cooler in the heat of crisis, cooler toward whatever cultural phenomenon is considered to be hot (Justin Bieber, anyone?), cooler in the face of hellfire and brimstone, and cooler in a traffic jam on a balmy August afternoon. As for female friendliness, it takes a special kind of woman to dig that brand of chill. In my experience most women are relieved finally to be around a man who isn’t forcing his, um, will on them that they assume a Platonic approach even if something more Aristotelian is in the air. C’est la vie.
4) If we master time travel, and you’re able to go back and spend a day with any philosopher, activist, artist, musician, etc., and ask them one question, who and what would it be?
I would arrive in nineteenth century Turin at the moment an aging Nietzsche knelt in tears to hug the carriage horse that had fallen in the street after being beaten by its master and ask if, as some claim, he had lost his mind or if perhaps he had achieved absolute, heart-crushing clarity.
5) Do you still have those awesome gray leather pants?
I am wearing the leathers even as we speak, not so much for fashion as for survival. Brrr!
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.