Sexuality and the Land


The following is a selection of an essay written for the recent Winter issue of the Slovenian cultural journal Razpotja, which focused on topics in sustainability. If you want the whole essay, you have to learn Slovenian. The essay owes a sizable debt to the author and environmentalist Wendell Berry and his marvelous pieces Feminism, the Body, and the Machine, and The Body and the Earth.Sexuality and the land both have a life of their own. The land has its soil, weather, insects, and idiosyn … [Read more...]

Beyond Compare


I received a message asking, amongst other things:What if Islam is true? What if Buddhism is true? Atheism? How can you be so sure of your Catholicism when there are thousands of religions and world-views you have not even encountered?I am thankful in the extreme that the question seeks the source of my surety and certainty in the Church, and not my factual reasons for being a Catholic. If the latter was emphasized, I would have to give up from the onset, the answer too big for the … [Read more...]

Why Name-calling is Exactly What It Sounds Like


If I could offer a single corrective to our culture, a solitary word to collar-yank us safe from the semi-truck of The Intolerably Boring that daily bears on me and my generation, it would be -- "describe." (Maybe with a "dammit" thrown in for good measure. (Describe, dammit. (There we go.))) Description gives us insight, allowing us to see in, to move through the exterior life to an encounter with a person's’ interior life. Great works of literature achieve this.He was a man over fifty, b … [Read more...]

Presence as Absence


The absence of people we love isn't absence at all. For absence is just that -- nothingness, a lack, the not-being-there of a particular person. If this is what we felt in the gone-awayness of our loved ones, than the phenomenon of missing them would not exist. Would we experience their absence as just that -- absence, nothing at all, experienced as I currently experience the absence of Costa Rica, as simply not there for me.The absence of the loved one isn't absence at all, but the … [Read more...]

If God is Real, Why Won’t He Show Himself?


The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said that "just as important as the truth, and of the two the even more important one, is the mode in which the truth is accepted, and it is of slight help if one gets millions to accept the truth if by the very mode of their acceptance they are transposed into untruth."God hides himself so we will come to him in the right mode. He is not an object. He is not an old man in the sky, available to our observation, nor a slight grease on the surface of … [Read more...]

Why I Can’t Conceive of De-conversion


An atheist once told me I was only a Christian because I couldn't conceive of not being a Christian. I answered that I could conceive of not being a Christian, and that most days, in fact, I felt far more the atheist than the believer. The issue, I said, was that each and every one of the Catholic claims struck me as true, and so I believed.He left disappointed, but I imagine if he spoke to me today, he would be far happier, for the answer I gave him no longer makes sense. There is a point o … [Read more...]

How Not To Know God


The word "eternity" scares us post-Christians. It was no contradiction for atheists like Nietzsche to disavow the existence of God while simultaneously reveling in the idea of eternity, but now that popular atheism has been irretrievably wed to the idea that truth is only in the material world, and that physical science rightfully usurps all other forms of knowledge, a rejection of God has come to mean a simultaneous rejection of eternity. Why? Because if truth is only known through science, and … [Read more...]

Death as Orgasm


Love sucks.To love is to desire communion with the beloved, to ache for unity, oneness, and a coming-together. But my beloved is infinitely not me, just as I am infinitely not her. Love seeks to bring me and not-me into one, that the "two become one flesh",  that "we'll be one tonight," that "you'll be in my heart" that "I'll melt with you," "lose myself" and on and on, a heaving tumble of ill-thought love-songs and poorly-constructed sonnets that lie to our hopeful faces.How can the two … [Read more...]

The Erotic Uncertainty Principle


When I am in love I am uncertain, and my uncertainty makes me certain that I am in love.I am uncertain why my beloved loves me. In her gaze, there is no understanding that "I am somewhere near a 7, she near an 8, we have these common interests and this mutual, biochemical attraction, and the sum total of all these things is the reason for her love."Her love remains a mystery.In fact, any love that I've been happy enough to experience has come with the realization that "I don't … [Read more...]

Love Creates Us, or Why People Allow Abortion in the Case of Rape


Valentine's Day is approaching far faster than single people are stocking up on vodka and Snuggies, so I'm going to add to the general misery and write about Love. I'll start with two claims that have become relatively controversial in controversially relativistic times:1. The words "husband" and "wife" are identities. Jack introduces Sally as "my wife" and not as "the woman I call my wife". Jack is a husband, he is not just called a husband. These terms of love represent who we are, they are … [Read more...]