17 Things Only Humans Will Understand

Inspired by those nifty BuzzFeed articles (“10 Things Only 90’s Kids Will Understand”) I decided to create a similarly nostalgic, identity-affirming list, but instead of appealing to a particular group, I want to leave everyone with that warm sense of belonging. So without further ado, have 17 cute and hilarious situations that only those who belong to that tribe homo sapien will ever understand.1. That moment when, alone among the great apes, you blush to be seen naked.As if, in a un … [Read more...]

Towards a Theology of Indie Rock

Indie-rock [1] musicians have a wonderfully strange fascination with the Church. I don't mean to dunk them all in baptismal water -- their overt flirtation with The Holy Catholic Faith ranges from "strained," to "profound," to "don't sing that in front of my Italian mother, you blaspheming ass." But it's a puzzle worth puzzling over. Take Florence + The Machine.Her new album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, wrestles with terror of freedom after the slavery of an erotic love. She takes t … [Read more...]

Ayn Rand, Fairy Godmother of Sexual Orientation

When I first purchased Atlas Shrugged with money I begged from a street corner, it was with no other intention than to delight in a world where every problem is the fault of poor people, Communists, and poor Communists. But Ayn Rand gave me so much more than the economic ideology one expects of motorcycle-riding men in Viagra commercials, thinly disguised as John Grisham novel from hell -- though, sweet baby Moses, did she give me that. She also gave me an explanation of human sexuality to rival … [Read more...]

Eucharistic Eyes

Protestants puzzle over how Catholics can see the person of Christ in a piece of bread. But the greater mystery seems to be how Catholics see the person in the face of the Protestant. Both parties live in a world in which the gaze sees, not people, but tools, objects, social classes, races -- a media world full of media types. The idea of seeing a particular person rather than this or that thing, really seeing her as an unrepeatable life, an unfathomable mystery and an infinite value -- it's ab … [Read more...]

Stop Moralizing Shame, It’s Ruining Everyone’s Day

As some criticism on my post on slut-shaming put it, the concept of shame as a protective feeling for the integrity of the entire person is "not even in the ballpark" of what shame really is. Shame is, in fact, "the negative judgment of the conscience directed towards ourselves...[it has] nothing to do with objectification or wholeness of person."Now while this seems to make shame something simple, useful, and necessary to the restoration of a moral world, it actually makes shame a senseless … [Read more...]

Rethinking Slut-shaming

I do not operate, move, or control my body. I am my body. It is I who see, smell, touch and move. It is my spirit which lives in and through these fingertips and toes. I don't think "let's type the next letter" and then wrangle my finger into obedience -- I just type the next letter, my finger and internal intention in a beautiful, natural harmony.But let one become ashamed, let him break a vase or stand caught in some wrongdoing, and this felt unity of self and body dissolves. We become awar … [Read more...]

5 Things We Should Think About Before We Say “Slut-Shaming”

Hyphenate the word "shaming," and boom, you've got a ready-made evil, a buzzword everyone on Facebook agrees is something Very Bad -- slut-shaming, body-shaming, single-shaming, fat-shaming, formula-shaming or, ah, sunscreen-shaming. I agree with Mark Peters, when he wrote for Slate that "shaming is probably already finished as a meaningful word," and even more so with Callie Beusman, when she wrote for Jezebel that "telling someone she's slut-shaming has mutated into a method of dismissing her a … [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...]

Turning Politics Inside-Out

Candidates are about to spend billions of dollars carving out the time to tell us how great they are, and there's no one we can assassinate to change the fact. So before it really starts, I want to get a solid Catholic critique of the entire scene: Our basic mode of bettering the world is backwards.Justice is not the state of the city or nation. Justice is a virtue, the interior disposition of a particular person to give each other his due. Charity is not primarily a social activity, a … [Read more...]

The Power of the Priestess

As motherhood is given by the child, as the husband is given by the wife, as the gift always comes from the gift-giver, so the priesthood is always received from another. This is true in individual ordinations, in which the priesthood is conferred through the bishop, and it is true for the priesthood as a whole, instituted by God, not by man. No one can make himself a priest.Neither can anyone earn, deserve, or become worthy of the priesthood. The priest is always unworthy of being a priest, … [Read more...]