Take Me to Church–But Not the Ones that Hurt: Starting a Book Project

Hey y'all. This is all in the very, very first stages, but I'm talking with a publisher about the possibility of doing a book of essays by Catholics who were badly mistreated by their churches or by Catholic communities or institutions, but who continue to practice the faith. My working title is Wounded in the House of a Friend, so that gives you sort of the idea. I'm looking for a wide range of experiences--there are so many different sorrows--and a wide range of genres, from personal memoir to … [Read more...]

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The Human Heart Is a Cactus, The Desert Makes It Bloom: Notes on Friendship and a Courage Conference

So I was invited to a conference run by Courage, a Catholic ministry to people with same-sex attraction. Prof. Janet Smith and I had a dialogue which I thought went fairly well, and which I think they'll eventually make available online. I also have an essay in the book that resulted from the conference, Living the Truth in Love. Here are three smallish thoughts about friendship, in light of what got said at that conference.1. One of the speakers was Dan Mattson, and as always I was so … [Read more...]

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It Always Rains on Ben Affleck: Short Movie Reviews

The Leopard: Burt Lancaster is the patriarch of an aristocratic Sicilian family whose role in society is inevitably being usurped by the rising middle class during the period of Italian unification. Directed in sun-soaked autumnal shade and color by Caravaggio--I mean, Visconti.Lancaster is so good at these autumnal roles (The Swimmer) and everything here is gorgeous to look at. My favorite social or psychological note was the complex role played by the Church/the family priest. The … [Read more...]

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Wesley Hill: “Eve Tushnet’s Spirituality of Humiliation”

a super-neat piece that connects my new novel to some themes in my nonfiction writing: Eve Tushnet’s new self-published novel Amends (available as an e-book or a paperback) is peak Tushnet: there are more quirky one-liners than the best standup you’ve seen, more offbeat metaphors than even Michael Chabon can conjure; there are themes of friendship and sacrifice, themes of recovery and religion; there are gay characters, and there’s even a Christian one (the latter features in an extended scene n … [Read more...]

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“The Wisdom of the Beguines”: Commonweal Book Review on Medieval Laywomen Mystics

with tons of fascinating stuff: In the twelfth century, single women began moving in large numbers from farms to cities of the Low Countries to work in the textile industry. Many of these women formed communal living arrangements that offered safe, affordable accommodation, and a life of service to their neighbors. According to Laura Swan’s recent book, The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women’s Movement, the beguines, who flourished for several hundred years, were one … [Read more...]

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The Kindle Version of My Novel, “Amends,” Now Available: Mysticism, Sleaze, Good Times and Bad Advice

You can purchase it (or the paperback, if you prefer books for mammals):A month in rehab would be stressful enough without a television audience. When the ramshackle cast checks in for "Amends," a new reality series about alcoholism and recovery, they don't know if they've been cast as villains or potential redemption arcs. Over the course of the show they learn what God sees when he shuts his eyes, how to appreciate the comforts of hallucination, and what it looks like when a wolf fights a … [Read more...]

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“Why Survivor’s ‘Broadway Boyfriends’ Will Keep Singing with Hillsong Church”: Jonathan Merritt

reports: The only thing worse than a false story is a partial one.That was the real lesson behind an article published on a conservative Christian website last week claiming that the Hillsong Church was allowing an “openly homosexual couple” to lead worship. The article, about the New York City campus of the Australia-based super-church where tens of thousands worship weekly, drew from a seven-month-old article about two Survivor contestants and Broadway actors, Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly … [Read more...]

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