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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How Paul Simon Reminded Me That Hey, Jesus is Surprising

I have the misfortune of trying to love philosophy and God at the same time. The difficulties in doing both are boring and well-chronicled. Suffice to say that it wears on my already-weak spirit, to shift from the Bible, wherein God changes his mind, to the classroom, wherein God cannot change. My mind blisters to hear my priest say that God "sings and dances over his children," delights in our works and sorrows over our sins -- only to hear from my professor that God cannot be affected by his c … [Read more...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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