How to Become a Cliche

Peace can show itself in a trillion ways, like beekeeping or re-reading Tintin comics without distraction. Anger, infinitely easier, shows itself in cliches -- the threatening voice, the clenched fist, the malicious gaze. Wisdom is manifested according to unique situation that it confronts -- now it penetrates this mystery, now that; now it offers counsel, now it keeps silence. Folly, by which we are unable to see past the immediate pressures and pleasures of the environment, makes an obvious … [Read more...]

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On Good Guilt and Bad Guilt

Dear Rothoof,I see you’ve been reassigned to another human. Officially speaking, I’m looking forward to your new attempts at tempting (no pun there, Rothoof, do contain yourself), and I admire the bureaucratic process that brought you back into active service. I must say, however, I am a little bemused as to why Our Father Below saw it fit to pull you up from the re-education chambers so soon after your last debacle. I don’t bring it up to hurt you (Hell knows, there’s enough of that in the b … [Read more...]

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Against Suspicion

You may be wondering why I am writing this from the floor, softly sobbing insane melodies and applying Icy Hot to my tendons. I just wrote and directed a children’s musical.It wasn’t my fault. The script spilled out in an afternoon already flooded with caffeine, enthusiasm, and the hope of impressing a beautiful English major. Her niece and nephew egged me on (“it would be way better if the aliens had a third eyeball”). I held auditions with the same tentative curiosity with which one sticks … [Read more...]

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The Radical Reverse Engineering of Pope Francis

"Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun. It shines everywhere."  Pope Francis writes too damn much. It really doesn't matter how much pastoral wisdom and warmth one emanates, a 300-page document will only be read by those who have a career-interest in reading 300 pages -- bloggers, ideologues, headline-hawkers and conspiracy theorists. Given that, for these careerists, What Anyone Says About Same-Sex Attraction will sell more effectively than What Anyone Says About the Divine I … [Read more...]

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The Joy of Love

You ever get that thing where you're asked to review Pope Francis' new exhortation and it's groovy and you like it...but then you remember Pope Benedict......and you're trying to be all, "hey, not every Pope can be a witty, concise, revolutionary theologian" but now all you can think about is Intro to Christianity and Deus Caritas Est and Called to Communion and every essay Ratzinger ever published for Communio......and you've still got 200 pages of Amoris Laetitia to go a … [Read more...]

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Virtual Reality Sucks

NSFWThe Internet is weird. It is home, not just to the ability to order a wife, instagram yourself beheading Shia militants, or preach the Gospel, but also to several millions of images of hyper-sexualized childhood cartoon characters, of whom, for no discernible reason, Sonic the Hedgehog reigns supreme.Why? Seriously, why do we add penises to Pokemon and extramarital acts to Mario? Why do we describe (with all the grammatical fluidity of a drunken 13-year-old with dislocated thumbs) … [Read more...]

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I experienced something and that something was nothing

I'm not trying to be butt about other people's near-death experiences. When I mangle myself in a car or by insulting a bear, I'm sure I'll regret this. But there's a silliness indulged by the skeptic that makes me counter-skeptical, and seeing as this silliness has been well-expressed in a recent news article, I'm going to give it a swing.When one says there is "nothing" after death, they've usually snuck "something" into their "nothing." A recent and briefly-dead fellow said this rather … [Read more...]

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The Case for Complicating Sex

My generation’s sitcoms still refer to sex as a fun, healthy, and fundamentally light activity -- something between a pelvic workout and an exciting way to say, "hey, I totally respect your need for meaningful self-expression." It is, as aging sexologists assure us, a normal behavior that we all ought indulge as a way of "relieving tension." We may agree -- who wouldn’t want it to be true? -- but we nod with the sadness of a generation raised on divorced families, infidelity, immense sexual vio … [Read more...]

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The Humor of Salvation

The Catholic Church is criticized for sneaking an attitude of "merit" into her followers. We believe (so we are informed) that we can "gain" Heaven by some weight of action. The critique is best expressed as a sneer: "What, you confess your sins to the priest and, voila, you're forgiven your murder, theft, child-molestation? Hike a trail, kiss the knee-bone of a Saint, and the grace of God floods into your heart?" Catholics pretend to conquer the Infinite God through some knockout combo of … [Read more...]

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Can a Catholic Feel the Bern?

The question I've been asking myself, watching the 2-year, extra-masturbatory edition of American Idol known as the Presidential Campaign, is, quite simply -- am I feeling the Bern? And in truth, my bitter, cynical, and frozen political fingers are at least luke-warmed by the guy, if only because he seems so bad at being confident, hip, and attractive. And because (and this is an aesthetic judgment) he seems honest. Comically wrong about a few life-or-death issues, but honestly wrong.Now the … [Read more...]

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