No, Christianity’s Not Eurocentric (But You Kind Of Are)

I was recently called eurocentric, in that I am a-okay with Christians hopping over to non-Christian countries and preaching the Really Good News of Jesus Christ. Now while I concede that preaching Christianity could be eurocentric, and that many instances of said-preaching is eurocentric, the diehard association of the missionary Christian with the racist, swaggering, white man is moronic. First, it is no longer true that Europe is the center of world Christianity -- that prize could equally go … [Read more...]

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and LOVE My Smartphone

I was on an anti-technology soapbox for a while. But I realized something today, and I've since been bubbling with a new appreciation for my generation's enthusiastic use of hip and with-it tech: Having a smartphone is like being in love.We are reassured by the physical presence of our beloved, by the fact that we can reach out and touch her. So we are reassured by the solid weight of an iPhone on our thigh -- we reach down and touch our phone, just to know that it is still there.We … [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...]

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...]

The Difference Between a Martyr and a Victim

The martyr is not glorified for the abuse, torture, or deprivation she suffers, as if we held her up in awe of what was taken from her. No, the martyr is something essentially positive, from the Greek martur -- a witness, a pointing-towards, an icon and profound evidence of the immense value and the unspeakable worthiness of that for which she dies.The martyr, then, is not the victim. The victim is referred to some enemy (a victim of a freak boating accident, of the measles, of terrorism) whi … [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...]

Fury and Catholicity

ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians. Surely it is time to dust off the war psalms in our breviaries, to pray the prayer to St. Michael, and to make those fervent supplications we usually tuck away to remain inoffensive within this Pluralistic Disneyland we call modernity -- "Save me, my God! For you strike the jaws of all my foes; you break the teeth of the wicked."We need a violent stirring of the spirit, not for the sake of breathing life into some brutish, martial Christianity (which u … [Read more...]

Insulting ISIS

There is no post-religious rhetoric that can properly meet and combat an offense such as ISIS. What shall we say, that they hate freedom? That they have a flagrant disregard for human rights? That they are guilty of war crimes? It would be true, of course, but true in a language that that bears no weight on the theocratic perversion that currently struts its self-obsessed pageantry on the international stage.How, in short, does one properly insult ISIS? With bombs, yes, but I want an answer … [Read more...]

The Difference Between a Renaming and a Baptism

In my last essay, The Blessings of Secularism, I received a blessing of some excellent secular criticism, indeed, a veritable back-hand. I was preaching the fact that Catholicism welcomes the convert into a world of primary meaning by attaching things with their meaning, giving New Life to Easter Eggs, 'God be by you' to 'goodbye,' 'Salvation' to 'salut,' and a Holy Day to our holidays. I imagined, briefly, a few new and improved "Keep Christ in Christmas" campaigns, slogans crotchety Christians … [Read more...]

The Blessings of Secularism

I first cared about being Catholic, not out of any profound love for the person of Christ, but out of a profound distaste for my other options. That Christ came, died, rose, and established a Church under the authority of the apostles united under Peter -- I'm still learning it. That I'd sooner cut my own toes off than live life as, say, a self-proclaimed 'freethinker' of the Reddit school -- that was an immediate judgment of taste, something akin to not wanting to wear Crocs or dye caramel tips … [Read more...]