A Brief Aside On the Broadness of the Heart That Fears Hell

Look, gosh-heckity-darnit, I get the critique: Christianity, by introducing the fear of Hell into her believers, is just the worst. Her education has raised up a veritable ocean of sniveling, frightened humanoids who can barely walk to the grocery store without fearing that they are in some way offending a highly-offendable God.But is it all that pathetic to walk into a Wal-Mart, pick out an ice-cream sandwich, and on the way to the checkout, for no real reason, fear that one will spend an … [Read more...]

That Good Ol’, Life-Affirming, Self-Inflicted Violence

I’ve found that, for all the glories of the Church, there are two which almost universally inspire envy in those outside of her folds: The Sacrament of Penance and the season of Lent. Speak on the life-changing effects of contemplation -- you may get some interest from the Zen kid at the back. Pontificate on the papacy -- you’ll be lucky to piss off a Presbyterian. But tell someone you’re going to confess your sins to a priest, or that, for the next forty days, you’re giving up coffee -- voila, y … [Read more...]

Lent in the Age of the Smartphone

I have been listening to NPR segments on the coming revolution in Smart technology. This usually involves an ecstatic announcer begging me to consider the benefits of texting my coffee-machine from bed, or having eggs delivered by drone when my smart-refrigerator registers a deficit in the egg-tray. If only we could give our mundane lives to machines, the logic goes, we’d have time for really living.It's baloney, and of the floppiest sort. Our use of smart-technology is not some neutral s … [Read more...]

Faking It in the Age of Identity

In his article, "The Year We Obsessed About Identity", Wesley Morris predicted that our bright, Trump-infested future will be ever more concerned with “defining ourselves.” Christianity Today agreed, and hoped that the faith would benefit from “this cultural importance of finding your “authentic self,” having others validate it, and fully living into it.”In my article about identity, I practice using only legally-sourced stock photos like my boss told me -- so you tell me who you're gonna rea … [Read more...]

My Spot on The Vortex

I was featured on Michael Voris' The Vortex yesterday. I'm on at 4:15.Sorry, Michael.I know you didn't ask for a hype man.But I was in a minivan.Full of hope. … [Read more...]

Worms, foul-smelling liquids, and filthy shreds of cloth

The Christian is hooked on either side and stretched between two disparate statements about his death: "Remember that you are dust" -- muttered by Catholic priests as they draw a cross of ashes on the believing brow -- and "Remember, O Christian, your dignity" -- the mighty words of Pope Saint Leo the Great, extolling us to marvel over the fact that we are destined to live forever, sharing "in God’s own nature.""...and to dust you shall return," the priests finish, pushing us into the deep da … [Read more...]

Writing

Son: Why bother with the boring reading, the difficult thinking, the never-ending study and the tortuous editing -- why bother with work when a cup of coffee, a little luck and the right mood produces the best writing I've written?Father: Work is compost. It cannot make you great. It can only make you ready. It stinks, but in its stinking you'll become fertile soil for the seeds of inspiration contained in your coffee, your good mood and your rare moments of luck. … [Read more...]

Popes Should Resign More Often

There is an tendency amongst many Catholics to view the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI as a quirk, a historical aberration, something wild and crazy -- now let's get back to a "till death do you part" papacy, thanks. This, at least, was my attitude towards the whole affair for quite some time. But I wasn't listening to Benedict. The man didn't resign for personal reasons that may or not be repeated. He resigned for reasons that created a norm, an example to follow, an expectation -- a … [Read more...]

Notes Regarding Sin, to be Read Sharply and Mockingly to Myself in Times of Desolation

"I cannot pray after so great a sin." And are you too ill to see a doctor? Too thirsty to drink? Too dirty to take a shower?*It is better to risk being seen as a hypocrite by praying after sin than to risk growing cold in God's arms by refusing to.*From the perspective of despair, sin is the end of prayer. From the perspective of hope, sin is the beginning. Christ stands on the side of hope when he describes the just prayer: "God, have mercy on me, a … [Read more...]

Facts, Facts, Facts!

"You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them.”  - Charles Dickens, Hard Times That human beings long to fly tells us far more about humanity than the fact that they walk on two legs. That teenagers daydream about the anarchy of a “zombie apocalypse” is a greater insight into their essential disposition than the fact that they use Facebook. A man is best known, not by what he has, but by what he dreams of having, for what he has is … [Read more...]