Have You Tried Shutting Up?

It is better to remain silent and to be than to talk and not be. Teaching is good if the teacher also acts. Now there was one teacher who 'spoke, and it was made,' and even what he did in silence is worthy of the Father. He who has the word of Jesus can truly listen also to his silence, in order to be perfect, that he may act through his speech and be known by his silence. --Ignatius of Antioch, The LettersLet's not talk about the post-election.Prayer can rightly pass for cowardly q … [Read More...]

Why Must God Hate the American Dream?

The American Dream is making a comeback. Trump channeled it with the Make America Great Again slogan. Then Clinton followed his lead by projecting the greatness we'll lose if we elect Trump. Then there was the Obama nostalgia when everyone had the epiphany that all those years after 2008 were a utopia compared to what's coming around the bend. Then yesterday most of us bumped up against MLK's dream speech, which is a more biblically weighty argument about a botched promise to … [Read More...]

Zygmunt Bauman Goes to Eternity from Liquid Modernity

Caillebot's painting above is significant to me because in and through its simplicity the painting evokes a world of weight, depth, nobility, and solidity that's been disappearing in the First World since World War II. It's as if the West, appalled by the horrors of the War, opted for the world of phantasmagorias and abstractions that we now inhabit.The following passage from Knausgaard's stunning memoir-novel (movel?) My Struggle, Book 1 adumbrates a little of the world that's been lost and … [Read More...]

TOP10 Booklist: What Theology, Science & Philosophy Should Be Under Your Christmas Tree?

Theology buffs have more of a Christmas gift dilemma than science and philosophy readers. The latter do not subscribe as much to the decline narratives as much as the former. For way too many Catholic theology readers Vatican II was a decline in theological quality and now the age of Francis is a decline from the decline. Rubbish.Admittedly, refuting this theory would take the luxury of a longer series in about contemporary theology for which I probably don't have time for (but it would start … [Read More...]

The Medieval Catholic Origins of Human Rights (Day)

The head-in-the-sand stance of many Catholics toward the modern world leaves them unprepared to engage their contemporaries on issues as important as human rights.The modern world, like the Bible, did not drop out of the sky into our laps. It has its history. That history is Christian. Its successes are theological, as are its failures.The history of human rights, and today (December 10th, 2016) is World Human Rights Day, is one such example of bumbling historical amnesia.Catholics mi … [Read More...]

Religion: Either Everything, or Nothing

"Religion is either everything, or it is nothing." --Pawel Rojek, Avant-garde Conservatism"Christianity has functioned for the normative self-understanding of modernity as more than a mere precursor or a catalyst. Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights, and democracy, is the direct heir to the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian … [Read More...]

The Reformation is Not Done with You

"The past is never dead. It's not even past." --William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun Reformation Day is an appropriate occasion to trot out a quote from America's greatest (Protestant, what else?) novelist from his otherwise mediocre novel about a "nun."Something like this sentiment is behind one of the most discussed history and theology books of recent years, Brad Gregory's The Unintended Reformation . Its subtitle telegraphs its rather unusually grandiose ambitions for an age that is w … [Read More...]

The Biblical Weight of Suffering in Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize Winning Songwriting

Bob Dylan is one of my earliest theological influences, therefore it gladdens me to see him awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this year.His interest in the great religious theme of suffering, as it is presented in the Judeo-Christian tradition, go back to his earliest albums, not only his brief Evangelical period. This has been convincingly argued by Stephen H. Webb--how I wish he were still around to see Bob get the Nobel--in Dylan Redeemed.I first "got" Bob Dylan during an e … [Read More...]

Executive Director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Responds to “Catholic Spring” Wikileaks Allegations

When I woke up this morning, I never thought I would get caught up in WikiLeaks drama.Prominent commentators have used a stolen e-mail thread from political operatives in 2011 (while I was a 21-year-old college student) about my organization, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, in an attempt to impugn both my integrity and my organization's work.So let's set the record straight: every day, my colleagues and I work tirelessly to promote the social mission of Pope Francis and the … [Read More...]

Will Priests For Life Pull Its $445,000 Out of the Trumpster Fire?

$445,000.00 is nearly half a million dollars. Is Priests for Life budgeting almost half a million dollars for their 2016 election campaign? It would seem so.When you submit the terms “Priests for Life”, “Election”, and “Plan” for a Google search, the first result is Priests for Life’s “Election 2016 Plan of Action, End Abortion and Save America“. Oddly enough, the plan is described as “confidential” – but is neatly set up to be found by anyone interested in what Priests for Life is up to this … [Read More...]