The Mode in Which We Go To Mass

The mode in which a message is delivered has the power to negate the content of the message. I may express my undying fidelity for a particular woman with words true and well-phrased, but as long as I send these words in a text-message, I obscure my own meaning. I might post a beautiful image of God with a powerful excerpt from Holy Scripture on Facebook. My intent is zealous, my faith is real, the translation from the Hebrew is accurate -- and it is all rendered meaningless by being viewed … [Read more...]

Millennial Misery


These are odd days. In 5 minutes I may come to know your appearance, birthdate, hometown, interests, likes and dislikes, favorite movies, recent thoughts, friends, family, acquaintances, occupations, and relationship status -- all without ever encountering you.These are delightful days wherein an Internet connection enables me and millions to observe a stranger's genitalia, days I may know the intimate details of another person to the point of their nakedness -- and never know them. I have … [Read more...]

What We’re Doing In Steubenville


Over the summer, my friend Joseph Antonielloand Ion a porch in Steubenville, Ohio discussed -- as only sleep-deprived undergraduate philosophy students can discuss -- the radical nature of action, the terrible possibility of doing something, the near-infinite apathy of our age and our selves, and the Herculean effort it takes to shrug the malaise of just-letting-things-happen in order to act. We were both reading the texts of Karol Wojtyla......who argues it is precisely in … [Read more...]

Fortunate Fall

Fortunate Fall Cover

In case you don't know by now, Audrey Assad wrote a new album entitled Fortunate Fall, a work full of meat, weight and prayerfulness that you should purchase with your hard-earned dollars to make the world more beautiful. I like Audrey's new record for all the wrong reasons. It stretches away from the "Christian Music Scene," bridging out into the unknown in an authenticity and a craftsmanship that make up the water and sunlight of good art. First of all, it was created independently, apart … [Read more...]

Man as Art


There is a reason to draw a strong analogy between the human person and the work of art. This connection first tickled my brainstem when I saw that both exist for their own sake, but the fact that art transcends the category of use is just one of its aspects, an aspect which, taken on its own, is an insufficient explanation of art itself. There is another way in which the work of art and the human person are similar -- in freedom. To explain this, I need to describe the act of writing … [Read more...]

The Egoism of God


Our modern difficulty with the idea that we are created by God may well spring, not from any lopsided view of God, but from a lopsided view of creation. These are corporate days, and creation brings to mind the world of business, that is, creation which serves a useful purpose for its creator, whether by the accumulation of profit or the convenience that it brings.But God is not a capitalist. He does not seek to gain by creating us. God is an artist, and art has the remarkable quality of use … [Read more...]

How Not to Despair or A Kierkegaardian Analysis of Typhoon


All I really want to do with my life is convince you that the indie-rock group Typhoon are a) awesome and b) channeling the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, but to do this I first have to explain humanity's desire for goodness and the concept of despair. It's an odd route round, but what else are you going to do, your job? Right then.Homo sapiens -- may they be fruitful and multiply -- experience a desire to be themselves. This is utterly strange. Rocks, trees and bacterium are laughing at … [Read more...]

Typhoon and the Goodness Revolution


My will to live in some semblance of communion with my culture has been snatched from despair by the fact that I can say, in all seriousness, that a certain 11-piece indie-rock band from Portland is best understood through the lens of the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. If this is a reduction of the marvelous music Typhoon has so far produced, my only defense is that all writing about music is a reduction, so leave me alone, my ego is as sensitive as a bladder after two large coffees and ro … [Read more...]

Ritual, Evidence of Eternity


The eternal can be well worn, but never worn out. It is always experienced as an over-abundance, an aching paradox between the more-than-can-be-imagined and the never-enough. The eternal cannot be grasped, contained, or experienced at one time, and so Van Goghs are gazed at again and again, the act of sex tends toward a sex life, and I cannot outgrow Bach's Cello Suites -- I hear more of them in every hearing. Eternity demands repetition, a ritual of again-and-again played out by those seeking … [Read more...]

5 Reasons to Kill Christian Music


As humans endowed with free will, intellect, and the burning desire for transcendence, we should stop making Christian music. Here's 5 of 100 reasons why:1. Writing a "Christian" song reduces Christianity to a modifying adjective.The well-intentioned creation of the Christian genre deems Christianity as equatable with as any other genre, like "Easy Listening". Thus our earth-shaking, intellectual and faithful assent to the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is degraded i … [Read more...]