Towards a New Argument Against Pornography

Call me morally optimistic, but I think that most people have a basic intuition that pornography is bad. Sure, there are ideologues here and there who really believe that it’s healthy, doesn’t hurt anyone, improves your sex life, empowers women, and all the rest -- but these voices have a faint, overly-defensive whine in the face of the growing complaint over the sex-lives of porn-watchers, the ill-health of porn-actors, and the immense wealth of pornographers.Of the people who do not bel … [Read more...]

How to Know That You Are Beautiful

You cannot see your face. You can look into a mirror, but a mirror can only give a mirror-image. You can take a photograph, but your photograph is flat.Besides, quantum theory applies to faces: The physicist only sees the position the electron takes as a result of its being measured. The mirrored-man only sees the position his face takes as a result of being placed in front of a mirror. The moment you step away from the selfie or the navel-gazing session, the image you gained becomes … [Read more...]

Death, Split Selves, and Demons: The Dopest Album on Your Otherwise Dopeless iPod

When I first played twenty one pilots' new album, Blurryface, I was not looking to be falcon-punched in the feels, nor stabbed in the precise sliver of brain that panics about dying, never amounting to anything, and eternal damnation -- but these Columbus kids are all about plunging the soul. The salty drum-and-synth combo of their songs is satisfying enough to delude the unsuspecting listener into thinking he can bob his head without facing his demons. But right from the first song -- where G … [Read more...]

The Art of Dying

There is a difference between Christian music and music flushed with a theological project. The former has arrived at Christianity, and sings about it. The latter is on the way, and singing. The Collection are the latter.North Carolinian, 7+-membered, horn-fattened, string-glazed indie rock. Their newish album: Ars Moriendi. The whole thing rich with that holy-s*%*-I-believe-in-Jesus-what-should-I-do-now-probably-not-just-play-Xbox kind of lyricism. Written as a meditation on the suicide … [Read more...]

Bettering Your Boring Christian Playlist: Jenny & Tyler

Artists have been coming to Steubenville, OH, getting their hands dirty with The Harmonium Project, playing music in the podunkiest to prettiest of places, all to be a source of community and cultural-economic development in a strange, distributist-y, local-business-y, neighbor-loving kind of way -- and I haven't said a thing about it. This is some kind of sin of omission. The Harmonium Project is the most badass smoosh of indie music and Holy Church since St. Thomas Aquinas released his first … [Read more...]

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

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...]