Do They Know It’s Halloween?: Cracked Feels My Pain

about the decline of trick-or-treating:#1. Traditional Trick-or-Treating Is Dying The first year I lived in California, we had a huge Halloween turnout at our house. So many costumed children showed up that we actually ran out of candy, and I had to run out to the store still dressed as Princess Buttercup and fight a sailor for the last bag of Laffy Taffy. The next year, thinking we'd be prepared, we stocked up on candy early and ... maybe one-third of the kids showed up. See, the … [Read more...]

“Gay and Catholic” Book Extra: Bridal Mysticism for the Rest of Us

One of the biggest gaps in the book is its relative silence about prayer. There's a lot about horizontal relationships with other people--even when prayer is mentioned it's often prayer to saints, which is still a horizontal relationship although maybe a tilted one--but not much about the vertical relationship of the human soul to God.This is why e.g. I was so struck by St Gregory of Nyssa's discussion of virginity: For him the vertical relationship is overwhelming, and horizontal … [Read more...]

“Gays, the Church–and forgotten love”: I’m in the New York Post

for those who don't immediately claw out their eyeballs upon reading the word "Synod": Is there a place for gay people in the Catholic Church?This month, 253 Catholic leaders, including heads of national bishops’ conferences, heads of the Eastern Catholic churches and lay married couples, met at the Vatican to discuss how the church can better support and guide families.This first meeting of the “Extraordinary Synod on the Family” discussed tough issues like cohabitation and divorce. It … [Read more...]

“A Russian Guide to Scary Movies”: Russia Beyond the Headlines

Russia’s first horror films appeared before the Revolution in 1917 and, unfortunately, did not survive to present day. These first films had largely to do with the flowering of symbolism and other decadent tendencies in Russian literature that actively promoted interest in mysticism.Later, horror movies were not produced in the Soviet Union, where the only permissible artistic method was socialist realism. The screen version of Nikolai Gogol’s “Viy” remains the only example of a horror movie … [Read more...]

“The Gift Shop of the Dead”: I Visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment

for AmSpec: For the past twelve years I’ve volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center serving mainly low-income women in the District of Columbia, and I’ve noticed something about how our clients talk: Nobody ever says “prison.” Boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons were never “locked up,” “in jail,” or “serving time”; they were always “incarcerated.” There is an unexpected poignancy to the bureaucratic term—a lacy Latinate word suffused with so much pain, as if standardization and abstraction coul … [Read more...]

“Confessions of a Former Bad Catholic”: A Queer Calling

w/a lot of substance: ...As I thought about this last night, I was taken back to my college and early graduate school days. Without hesitation, I can say that I was a deeply devoted Catholic. I attended Mass almost every day, not out of compulsion but because I woke up each morning with an eagerness to hear that day’s Gospel proclaimed, to be present with the very small daily Mass-going community in my college town, and to be in the same chapel where bread and wine mysteriously became Christ’s B … [Read more...]

“Sublime Recovery and Banal Recovery”: I’m in AmCon

sketching: This week I’m preparing to go to the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference (which I’ll be reporting on for TAC), and also reading for the first time David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The conference and the novel offer strikingly different narratives of addiction and recovery–both of which are gaining cultural ground in different ways. more … [Read more...]


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