Elf on the Shelf: Scrupulosity for Unbelieving Tots

Today in Slate, Torie Bosch describes how non-religious parents are using the children’s book Elf on the Shelf to teach their kids terror of supernatural judges. The story, as the title suggests, features an elf who acts as Tsar Santa’s Third Section. The creature “keeps an eye on a family during the day, then flies [Read More...]

A Depressed Solipsist’s Guide to Prayer Vigils

Having what a vocations director might describe as an active temperament, I have always, half-consciously, thought of prayer as a minimal, low-risk, nearly symbolic response to necessity or catastrophe. Like the person who hands a nickel to one of the ticket agents at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the person who offers to pray for [Read More...]

A Merry Post-Modern Christmas

Can anyone hear the song “Bells of St. Mary’s” without remembering the scene in Goodfellas where Joe Pesci drills Samuel L. Jackson through his occipital bone (just north of his sutura lambdodeia) with a silenced .45? Pesci fires; Jackson grunts and falls forward into a puddle of his own brains; Pesci hustles his partner, Frank [Read More...]


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