What We Want is a Spirituality of Wiping Bottoms and Breastfeeding!

Yesterday's post featured Alasdair MacIntyre discussing how much the philosophical tradition has ignored the dependencies built into all of our lives. In the long citation in that post he touches upon childhood while concentrating upon disability as an extreme case that is revelatory of the inescapable facts of constant human weakness and depencency.Janet Martin Soskice's The Kindness of God takes up the important topic of child-rearing in relation to spirituality. I did not recognize the … [Read More...]

MacIntyre looks a little like Hitchcock here.

MacIntyre’s Revelatory Argument About Disability

There is nothing like the thrill of discovering a new vein of thought.  The only thrill greater is the discovery of a new vein of thought in a thinker you thought you knew.Alasdair MacIntyre is someone who is frequently quoted in theology and philosophy papers. You see his After Virtue referenced all over the place. You might also find mentions of his God, Philosophy, University and many tiresome variations on the title Whose Justice? Which Rationality?You almost never hear about the … [Read More...]

Road trip finds for mental hygiene. The St. Ignatius soap says the product should be employed, "Against the Spirit of Evil."

Percy on Mental Hygiene: You Are Entitled to Your Depression

Octorber 5-11 was mental health week. You probably heard it mentioned on any of the following: radio commercials, TV programs, and social media blitzes. Chances are that you have struggled with some of the things that you heard discussed--the same goes for me. Abnormality is the new normal.It is also probably true, as one of my former professors, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen argues in his Making Minds and Madness: From Hysteria to Depression, that there are plenty of vested interests for … [Read More...]

Is it only a one-way street?

The Veils of Separation Drop

In a curious reversal of the Parable of the Good Samaritan I picked up an old helping friend last night: Martin Laird's A Sunlit Absence.The last few months have left me exhausted (more than usual) by persistent self-doubts, anxieties, career stress, and money worries. You know things are not going well when someone like myself who churns out TOP10 book lists with abandon loses the motivation to pick up a book. And so I turned, once more, to a book!I figured I would give reading at least … [Read More...]


Disproportionate Influence: Catholicism and the #HongKongProtests

This is the second installment of my interview with Dr. Justin Tse. It concentrates upon the Catholic Church’s complicated role in Hong Kong’s politics. A link to the first installment of this interview can be found here. How much influence does the Catholic Church (as an institution, but also individual believers) have on what goes on in Hong Kong politics? It would seem to be a marginal player when only 5 percent of the population is Catholic.This is a great social scientific question. Rec … [Read More...]

Church History: Why can't we embrace it?

Synod14: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again!

The Synod reporting has been nothing short of apocalyptic. And I do love it in a Rabelaisian Catholic sort of way. For example, The National Catholic Register's write up is another sure sign, aside from all the Medjugorje idolatry, that the publication is getting comfortable with wearing the tinfoil hat. In particular, the piece Evidence Emerges of an Engineered Synod borrows the tone of an X-Files script:More and more there is talk in Rome that this synod is being engineered by groups in … [Read More...]

We're talking about a curiously Catholic-inflected Zen here.

Cardinal Zen and the Art of the Hong Kong Protests

Since the Synod is occupying everyone's minds, including my own, I thought I'd change things up a bit with an interview about the Hong Kong Occupy Movement. I mean, no matter if the Synod will unleash the apocalypse, the world will still go on (at least for a little bit).Now, you might be aware of the Hong Kong Protests from brief news-reports, but how much do you really know about what is going on? Did you know religion is front and center in these events in lots of interesting ways? For … [Read More...]

The Golden Legend described the church as an extended family. There is wisdom in that for our times. (Menabuoui, detail of Paradiso from the Padova Baptistry, 1386).

Synod14: The Church Needs to Replace the Family

When grandiose Church events such as the Synod on the Family roll around I look forward to rolling my eyes as the conservatives freak out about the possibility of radical change, whereas the liberals freak out about the possibility of radical change not being made. The real problems usually reside elsewhere.My unreasonable attempt at adjusting to being Mr. Mom, blogging, and job hunting (all at the same time) has prevented me from taking an in-depth look at what's going to be considered. But … [Read More...]

This painting seems a bit too cheerful for a Rose cover. But if it's a Van Gogh then it also secretly shares in a history of suffering similar to hers.

Every Gun n’ Rose Has Its Thorn

After driving Dominik to kindergarten I took the girls for a spin around the block in the vain hope that they would fall asleep. Along the way I noticed a man who cultivates the Slash, guitarist of Guns n' Roses, look. I see him frequently around the University District and Ravenna pinning concert flyers to walls and posts. He has the hair, the nose piercing, the aviator sunglasses (sometimes worn at night), even the huge Victorian steampunk top-hat.There is something surreal about … [Read More...]

Photo by Caner Başer.

Travel Elegy

Wislawa Szymborska, "Travel Elegy" from Poems New and CollectedEverything's mine though just on loan, nothing for the memory to hold, though mine as long as I look.Memories come to mind like excavated statues that have misplaced their heads.From the town of Samokov, only rain and more rain.Paris from Louvre to fingernail grows web-eyed by the moment.Boulevard Saint-Martin some stairs leading into a fadeout.Only a bridge and a half from Leningrad of the … [Read More...]