Formation Notes: Paul Gives the Romans the Straight Dope

I was named to be my Lay Dominican chapter's formation directory last month, filling out the end of a term for another member, and yesterday I had my first meeting with our two novices. Formation in the Dominican Laity is like this:First you come a meeting or two or three, and see whether you want to pursue a Dominican vocation. Assuming you do, you become an "inquirer" ("postulant" is the older term), and at the appropriate time of year (September for our chapter) you begin your first … [Read more...]

CT 5: The Eternity of God

Clock in pieces

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.As we saw in Chapter 4, God, as God, is utterly unchanging.  (Jesus, God Incarnate, is a man and so is clearly subject to change: he is conceived, born, grows, dies, and is raised.  But we’re not nearly there yet.)  And since God is unchanging, then, Thomas argues that God must be eternal.The further conclusion is evident that God is eternal. For everything t … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Humility of Theology

Theology, everyone knows, is the study of things divine, or, at least, the study of things human beings have called divine. More cynically, one might say that theology is what is taught in the theology departments of large universities, or in other words, things that men have made up about God in order to get tenure.But Catholic theology, properly understood, is no such thing. In Catholic terms, theology is the study of the God who is, a God who isn't merely a subject to be studied but a … [Read more...]

Six Pilgrims (Plus One) Along the Camino de Santiago

An old friend of mine from the Newman Center community at Stanford has begun a blog detailing a pilgrimage (currently on-going) along the Camino Santiago in Spain. The pilgrims include members of her family, including her husband who is only going along for the first week (he's the "plus one"). You can follow the whole story at Six Pilgrims Plus One: A Camino Journey. … [Read more...]

Tools for Learning Clojure, Part IV: GitHub

GitHub Octocat

In Part I, I talked about Clojure and the need for a convenient "REPL": a piece of software that lets you type input at the language engine and see its responses. In Part II I talked about Leiningen, a very cool tool that not only gives you a good REPL but also automates many other tedious aspects of development. In Part III I talked about a simple IDE for Clojure called Nightcode.And the final piece in the puzzle is GitHub.GitHub is a website that provides configuration management … [Read more...]

Mississippi Squirrel Revival!

Ray Stevens' classic novelty song "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival" randomly appeared in my music stream this morning, and I felt I ought to share it. For those not familiar, it's the story of how one "half-crazed Mississippi squirrel" brought revival to the folks at church one day. Here's Stevens performing it in 2006 at the Grand Ole Opry. … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Angelfood Cake

The Mouser made a very small parry in carte so that the thrust of the bravo from the east went past his left side by only a hair’s breath. He instantly riposted. His adversary, desperately springing back, parried in turn in carte. Hardly slowing, the tip of the Mouser’s long, slim sword dropped under that parry with the delicacy of a princess curtsying and then leaped forward and a little upward, the Mouser making an impossibly long-looking lunge for one so small, and went between two scales of t … [Read more...]

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats—Or Does It?

Recently the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has been calling for an increase in the minimum wage. I don't like to argue with the bishops, and I'm not going to do so now; but I worry about efforts to use the Big Hammer: to try to fix social problems by fixing the "system", rather than by helping individuals.It's true that our society has systemic problems. It is clear that we have problems in the area of poverty and access to healthcare that, strictly speaking, we don't need to have. … [Read more...]

Review: 1491, by Charles C. Mann


Subtitled "New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus", Charles C. Mann's 1491 is a delightful survey of native civilizations and cultures in North and South America prior to the coming of the Europeans. Much has been discovered in the last twenty years, and it turns out that a lot of what I thought I knew about pre-Columbian times is wrong—or, at least, incomplete.I knew, for example, that smallpox brought by the Spaniards (and later colonists) had decimated the Indian* population a … [Read more...]