Tenderness, Penitence and Estrangement: I Review the El Greco Show at the National Gallery of Art

for the Weekly Standard:The nickname “El Greco” reveals two things about Doménikos Theotokópoulos, the weird and sublime painter of the Counter-Reformation: He was Greek, and he was a stranger. When everybody around you is Greek, nobody is “the Greek.” El Greco’s vision reflected the second part of his identity even more than the first.more … [Read more...]

“How Should Secular People Approach Sacred Art?”: The Best Essay of Its Kind

I've read a ton of these and Pelagia Horgan's appreciation of Fra Angelico is the best by far. Give it time to build: The loveliest image I know is Fra Angelico’s ‘Entry of the Blessed into Paradise’, a scene from his painting The Last Judgment of 1431. In it, the blessed, just risen from their graves, gather together in a flowering garden to join hands with angels and dance into the light of heaven. There’s a scene in D H Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow (1915) when Anna Brangwen sees a copy of the … [Read more...]

Small Screens: Several Very Short Movie Reviews

What I've been watching.Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Actually pretty fun, once you get past the narcissism and abuse of women.EDIT: I should say that the latter two elements aren't things I wish they'd left out of the movie. They add texture to what could have been a plasticky, "drugs R fun!", self-consciously edgy cliche. F&LILV manages to be neither a cautionary tale nor an ad for addiction.Whiplash: Miles Teller is a super actor. This is not the movie to see him in. It's a … [Read more...]

Jose Mena vs Me on Christian Friendship

A critique of some elements of my book. Some of this misreads specific phrases (I don't use "ancient" as a pejorative!) but Mena is putting his finger on something which is really in the book. I should say that I'm just not in a position to respond to these arguments; my best friend isn't Christian (nor is my family of course), and that's obviously shaped how I understand the role of shared belief within friendship. ...In Gay and Catholic, Tushnet is primarily concerned with establishing that … [Read more...]

Jason Byassee on Christians and “Christian”

This is the part that really irks me the most on eschewing “Christian.” It’s as though we get off scot-free for historical Christian sins (the crusades, racism, you name it) by just calling ourselves something else. Christians believe there is a way to forgiveness and purity—but it passes through confession, restoration, and repaired relationship. The much more costly way to disassociate from those who have done ill in Christ’s name is to set about loving as fanatically as they hated.here; vi … [Read more...]

“Church of Gay Abandon”: I’m Interviewed by the Sydney Catholic Weekly

Some headline writer was having a long day there. Anyway I thought this turned out well: ...What do you like about being Catholic?The central thing for me is the Eucharist, including Eucharistic adoration and processions like Corpus Christi. Also the saints and artists: St Francis, St Aelred, Dorothy Day, Oscar Wilde, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, El Greco, Dali.I like the fact that there's a saint for everything, St Lydwina the patroness of figure skating etc, and the gallows humour of the … [Read more...]

A Very Kind Review of “Gay and Catholic” at Shored Fragments

plus some other book, apparently other people also write books (why?): I try to keep up with books addressing human sexuality from a theological/Christian perspective. The general flow of publications reminds me of an exchange from an old BBC Radio 4 drama:‘He made pork pies the way Wagner wrote semiquavers.’‘You mean they were good?’‘Not often. But there were an awful lot of them…’A minority of the books published simply repeat already well-rehearsed arguments and so contribute … [Read more...]


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