Story of A Thanksgiving Mugging

It was the night before Thanksgiving, 2006. I was walking the three miles and change home from the ASU student library, where I’d been using one of the public computers. North of the Mill Avenue Bridge spanning the Tempe Town Lake, the scenery turns almost bucolic, with the desert of Papago Park, to the North and East, practically spilling onto the sidewalk. It also turns almost pitch black.As I approached the parking lot of the Rolling Hills Golf Course, I saw an old, black gas-guzzler - … [Read More...]

Video: Sainthood Fail #2,435,657

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Refugees and Bart Simpson’s Paradox

In the summer of 2002, Brent Scowcroft published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal under the self-explanatory title “Don’t Attack Saddam.” His analysis was as incisive and free from partisan malice as one might expect from a former Air Force lieutenant-general and national security advis … [Read More...]

ISIS Should Get Its Own Patheos Channel

ISIS’s magazine, Dabiq, preaches mainly to the choir. As Robert Evans observes in Cracked, its copy is clogged with jargon and Scripture. “Most articles,” he writes, “start with a solid two or three paragraphs of 'all this happened only by God's will', 'praise Allah for granting us victory … [Read More...]

A Humble Plug for Refugees

Last night in a Facebook PM session, my friend Mohammed told me that he recently overheard his kids arguing in Turkish. His son’s nine, his daughter, I believe, is five. They’ve been living in Turkey for no more than two years, and Arabic -- as all the world can now agree -- is a fine idiom for del … [Read More...]

Jean Ousset: The Wit and Wisdom of A Wingnut

In the days before e-mail, dashing off a few words to a friend or a newspaper editor could mean receiving a classic in return. In the theological realm, the New York Sun editor’s assurance to Virginia O’Hanlon that, yes, there is a Santa Claus, ranks just below St. Paul’s epistles. Imagine Charl … [Read More...]

Contra Mindy Selmys: Anger Isn’t Always Hatred

In Mesa, Arizona, three days after al-Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center, an armed man walked into the grocery store owned by Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh, and shot him dead in the mistaken belief that Sodhi was a Muslim. Let it be said boldly and up front that Islamophobia is real.Let’s also … [Read More...]

In Paris: Christ Crucified or Avenging Angels?

In the fall of 1914, the Welshman Arthur Machen published a short story titled “The Bowmen,” which ascribes a supernatural cause to the German setback at Mons. Just as the Germans are about to overrun his position, a rifleman serving with the British Expeditionary Force recalls the Latin motto “Ad … [Read More...]

Starbucks and the Red Cup of Conquest

It suddenly occurred to me that I’m endorsing Starbucks on this blog by sporting a photo of its logo behind the title. If that helps win me a reputation for staying calm through cultural upheaval, that’ll be lovely. At this point, most of the people I know are pretty devout Christians, the kind who … [Read More...]

For Veterans’ Day: Reflections on the Field-Hospital Church

A few years ago, Monsignor Charles Pope wrote a short essay defending the use of martial imagery in hymns and homilies. If tradition carries any weight, the case for is a slam-dunk – or, as the old bomber crews used to say, a milk run. As Pope observes, St. Paul himself mentioned weapons and t … [Read More...]

Nicholas Christakis: Too Much Obsequiousness Is A Dangerous Thing

Boy, am I ever out of touch.Yesterday, when I begged compassion and mercy on behalf of the so-called “Shrieking Girl,” the Yale senior caught on video berating Silliman College Master Nicholas Christakis, I was working from the assumption that she had set herself up for a big fall. She’ll suff … [Read More...]

Mercy for “Shrieking Girl”

The poor kid.This may seem like a strange way to describe the Yale student telling a university administrator, “You should resign,” among many other less printable things, in a tone most civilized people would blush to use on a telemarketer. But since her performance has been captured on video a … [Read More...]

Video: Calculating the Costs and Being Bee Girl

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On All Souls’ Day: A Plenary Indulgence for Dad

My father has been dead for more than 13 years, but every once in a while he pays me a visit. No, he doesn’t appear in the dead vast and middle of the night with his beaver up. Instead, he shows up in the words that fly from my mouth whenever I have cause to nag someone – a student, a cus … [Read More...]