My Road to Catholic Belief

Mountain Highway

Last week I explained why there is no magic bullet for belief, no simple, straightforward argument that will compel belief in the Christian God.  This raises some questions: how do believers come to believe in Christianity?  And how can Christian belief be rational absent such proofs?First, most Christians come to belief experientially.  Some are taught as children, and later reach out to accept what God has for them: they "taste and see that the Lord is good," as scripture has it.  Others co … [Read more...]

What’s the Good of Christianity? And Does it Matter?

Mother Teresa

Last week I opined that the question of what religion is good for is the wrong question; the question is whether a religion is true or not.It doesn't matter a bit whether religion (in the broader sense) is good for anything if it isn't true.  If the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob doesn't exist, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is a lie and a sham and unworthy of practice, and ought to be shunned by all good men.  Any good that it does is in spite of itself.One c … [Read more...]

Living on a Prayer Trigger


St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing.  Just what that means is not entirely clear; opinions range from continuously (literally, every waking moment) to continually, on a very regular basis.  In the Eastern tradition, for example, it's a recognize devotion to say the Jesus prayer under your breath as continuously as possible.Me, I come down somewhere in the middle.  As I related few months ago, I have a regular daily prayer schedule as a Lay Dominican, so I certainly do pray co … [Read more...]

Lent, Weight Watchers, and Aristotle

Chocolate Bundt Cake

I associate dieting with Lent.  Not because I equate fasting with dieting, but because of a double coincidence.  Ten years ago I was extremely overweight, and my doctor put me on a strict diet.  It was a couple of days before Ash Wednesday, and I came home and told Jane, “I’m giving up food for Lent.”  It was one of the those jokes of the “funny/painful” variety.That diet was success; I lost lots of weight, and kept it off for quite a while; but a couple of weeks ago I went to do the doctor a … [Read more...]

A Little Perspective on Father Serra

Mission San Carlos Borromeo

Being a California kid, I first became acquainted with Fr. Junipero Serra almost as soon as I got to school. I've visited many of the missions, and many of them many times, especially San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel, California, which was Fr. Serra's home base. And being a resident of the Left Coast, I also here fairly regularly about Fr. Serra's sins, how he dragooned the local Indians* into living at the missions and prevented them from leaving, how he exploited their labor, how he forced … [Read more...]

Steven Brust on Being at Peace with Yourself

I remember being accosted on Forbes and Murray in Squirrel Hill by a Buddhist who expressed a desire to know if I wanted to be at peace with myself. I didn’t answer him, and I didn’t think much about it until I was reminded, thirty or forty years later, by a rant on the subject in a trashy sci-fi novel I happened to read. In general, I agree with the author of said trashy sci-fi novel: I don’t want to be at peace with myself. I want to be fighting with myself, struggling, looking for answers; I w … [Read more...]

New Book: Spiritually Able

Spiritually Able, subtitled "A Parent's Guide to Teaching the Faith to Children to Special Needs", is a new book about teaching the faith to children with special needs. (Go figure.) If you're in that category, give it a look! … [Read more...]

You Must Be Full of Demons

There are many things I might be full of, but this isn't one of them.

“You must be full of demons!"It was something like that, anyway. “I’m not going to listen to you. You must be full of demons. I’m going to listen to Jesus Christ. I’m not going to listen to you."Jane and I spent a couple of days in Las Vegas this past weekend; and on Friday evening after the show (Le Rêve, an excellent show I’d recommend to anyone) we were coming down an escalator from one of the pedestrian skyways that dot the Strip, and at the bottom was an evangelism squad. Th … [Read more...]

Reverence, Within or Without

Sometimes I read blog posts that use the word "reverence" what seems to be a purely external way. It connotes silence, and careful movements, and kneeling for communion, and certainly has nothing to do with having a noisy or curious child in the pew with you. Other times I read blog posts that speak of reverence as a purely internal disposition, as remembering that we are in God's house and consciously choosing to behave appropriately and to focus on God and the prayers at hand.To be fair … [Read more...]