Sexuality is at the Heart of Christianity’s Place in the World

We have gone over some of the lineaments of the difference Christian sexual morality makes in the public square. It left its stamp on the sexual orientation of Catholic asceticism; possibly influenced the movement for gay marriage through Andrew Sullivan's mainstreaming of the notion;  and led to the disappearance of ancient homosocial gym culture (until recent times).Kyle Harper's recent book From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity provides us a c … [Read More...]

Dudes, lots of dudes just hanging out and sweating, are at the center of a new University of Chicago book cover.

Temple of Perfection: Christianity, Homosexuality & America at the Gym

There is an LA Fitness just down the road from our new apartment. It is an impressive temple to bodily perfection.Yesterday our mattress and boxsprings finally got delivered. It was our first day in something like six months of not sleeping on an undersized mattress directly on the floor or on a couch.Needless to say, we cannot afford the price of admission to the temple of perfection even though it is practically in our backyard.But maybe there's something historically Christian … [Read More...]

sullivan here comes the groom

Do You Know Why You Can Blame Catholics for Gay Marriage?

Today I would like to continue in the vein started by my discussion of the profoundly heteronormative orientation of Catholic monasticism.Now, American anti-Catholicism is a reality. Catholics are blamed for some of the following: being illiberal, the "barbaric" crimes of the Inquisition (therefore totalitarianism), stifling science, being bad American patriots, and generally, for not being Protestant.I could continue this litany indefinitely.The one thing Catholics haven't been bla … [Read More...]

St. Bernard's vision is of the Virgin Mary, as Fabrice Hadjadj might predict (Source: Pietro Perugino, Vision of St. Bernard, 1489; Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100).

Does Catholic Monasticism Have a Sexual Orientation?

 The answer to the the title question is, surprisingly, "yes." But the reasons for it are even more surprising.You might remember Fabrice Hadjadj from my post on converting the world not being an end in itself, or the post about St. Augustine praying over a man's hemorrhoids (and the problem of radical evil).Here he is giving you the lowdown on the sexual orientation of Catholic monastics in an interview I recently translated: Monika Holvoote: The second important question … [Read More...]

This is only half of it. The other part of the shroud has Christ's back.

Scientifically Examining the Turin Shroud: Resurrection Sunday Deux

There are those who automatically shrilly say their faith doesn't hang upon The Shroud of Turin whenever the object is mentioned.My faith doesn't hang upon it either, but that's beside the point. The scientific wars surrounding this potential relic are really, really fun to follow.However, Larry Chapp says that Catholicism is the most worldly of all religions and so this artefact has a bearing on that.In connection with today being Resurrection Sunday in Orthodox Christendom, I'd … [Read More...]

Photo courtesy of The Hildebrand project, which recently published My Struggle Against Hitler and is also offering a fellowship to work on von Hildebrand's papers.

Mein Kampf Against Hitler: Comparing von Hildebrand to Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was recognized as a hero of World War II Nazi-resistance with the posthumous publishing of his letter exchange with Eberhard Bethge entitled Letters and Papers From Prison.It is a little strange to see a saint-cult built around somebody who vaguely argued for a "religionless Christianity." Granted, this concept was much more descriptive rather than proscriptive (as Altizer's "Death of God" theology and later Mark C. Taylor's a/theology erroneously took it to … [Read More...]

Moses busts a move on them Egyptians.

So You Think Moses Can’t Liturgical Dance? Forget #SalonChristianitySecrets!

Twitter might be abuzz with #SalonChristianitySecrets inspired by a Religion Dispatches piece on Holy Saturday republished on Salon about Jesus going to hell (GASP!). I've made a couple of contributions myself.The Washington Post might be busy demythologizing Dietrich Bonhoeffer.But that's not the real news. The real news is that a Seattle has proven that Moses can dance.And how!After that you might want to walk with Moses.And if you want to read more theologically sound … [Read More...]

What Walter Benjamin says here equally applies to unpacking: "This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet." (Paul Klee, Angelus Novus, 1920; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-70, PD-USA, registered before 1923)

Worstward Ho(pe): Christ and Apollo and Moving!

I firmly believe that moving is the process of rearranging old constellations of junk into new constellations of junk.We recently moved into a new apartment, again.The euphoria of packing everything up was followed by the letdown of having to unpack it and is now limping into the valley of the shadow of death (or debt, if you want to pry into my finances).I've found the noonday demon whispering to me, saying, "How will you ever get all of this in order?" Order is the one thing I … [Read More...]

Did you notice how the title Approaching God is ambiguous?

Religion is at Once Theoretical and Practical

The difference between theory and practice is fairly clear. It is like the difference between playing baseball and playing fantasy baseball. The fantasy baseball might approach levels of virtuosity in their ability to judge the potential performance of a player on any given day, but nobody expects them to hit a 95MPH fastball. On the other hand, the baseball player is not only (usually) able to hit that fastball, but also has a theoretical knowledge of the game. For example, they know in what … [Read More...]

The liveliness and youth of the angels puts the Death of God in all the starker perspective. (Source: Giovanni Bellini, Pietà, 1474; Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100).

Death as an Object of Faith II: To Live Facing Holy Saturday

What follows is a longread essay by Dariusz Karlowicz that appeared in his award-winning Polish-language collection entitled The End of Constantine’s Dream. This is the second and last part of that essay, "Death as an Object of Faith: Meditations for Holy Saturday." You can read the first part here. The following translation is my own published with the author’s permission.To Live Facing Death In the essay “Death and the After-Life” Max Scheler wrote that contemporary people “Do not face … [Read More...]