“The Giraffe Trick”: I review Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty”

at AmCon: In decadent Rome, an aging art critic rides the success of his one, long-ago novel, and wonders if there’s more to life than having the best conga line in the Eternal City. He watches young nuns playing in a hedge maze, drifts into and through relationships with damaged women, and does a lot of eloquent smoking.The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino’s update of/homage to La Dolce Vita, offers a lot of expected pleasures. Our antihero, Jep Gambarella (Toni Servillo), sometimes seems to … [Read more...]

“Serious Christians Should Abstain From”… Thing I Totally Did

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry makes a very good point: Remember when Pope Francis gave that interview? And he said something heretical-sounding? And all orthodox Christians blew a fuse? And it turned out the interview wasn’t proofread and Francis never said that? moreIn fact I'd been wondering whether I should add a note to this post, since the one place where I got up on my hind feet and took a swipe at Pope Francis was in fact a paraphrase/distortion. I decided not to, but PEG made me rethink t … [Read more...]

In Defense of “Spiritual, But Not Religious”

So today I learned that I'm bizarrely defensive of this much-mocked self-description.I think my basic defense is that "spiritual, but not religious" means radically different things to different people, and some of those things are the result of profound and painful attempts to love and serve God. ("God, as you understand God," as they say.) Here are some things I think people may mean when they say that they're spiritual but not religious:* I had a consumerist relationship with a church … [Read more...]

“God’s Away on Business” in Hebrew

I like this on its own merits, as well as for its high concept. Via TKB. … [Read more...]

St. Odysseus and St. Antaeus

A while ago I asked the wild world of Twitter what it wanted me to talk about, w/r/t the concept of vocation. One response was basically, "What's the difference between discernment of vocation and navel-gazing?" That's a pretty great question; the boring answer is probably "prudence" just like with everything else (BORING), but let me see if I have a bit more to say about it than that.The "emerging adulthood" model, which has all kinds of economic, social, & … [Read more...]

He Treats the Bible Like It’s Some Kind of Gospel Truth!: A Couple Scattered Thoughts

on Wesley Hill's review of Christian Smith's new book, a book I 100% haven't read and doubt I would understand. Amateur night at the Apollo!It took me a while to grasp what Hill was doing with the example of the Catholic Church. He's actually arguing, I'm pretty sure, that since Catholic doctrine has a lot of specific, settled positions which come from a Christocentric reading of the Bible but with which most evangelicals will disagree, you can't escape Christian disagreement by just … [Read more...]

“What Classic, Orthodox Celibacy Isn’t”

at Spiritual Friendship: If we follow the tradition’s logic, celibacy cannot be a synonym for singleness. Classic, orthodox celibacy is not a solitary priest rattling around in an oversized rectory, or an isolated yuppie in a high rise apartment building a profile on an internet dating site, or a gay person toughing it out solo at Christmastime. All these are modern day tragedies, the kind of things which deserve compassion but which cannot be normative. Classic, orthodox celibacy is rather a w … [Read more...]


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