The Pope and the Pregnancy Center

Last night I put in my two hours at the pro-life pregnancy center where I volunteer, and it was a real mixed bag. I know I did some good work, but I can't stop thinking about my first client, who needed something very different from what I initially tried to give her.Obviously I can't use any identifying details, but she was in her teens (and in fact explicitly called herself "a teen parent," as a shorthand for saying, "so you know that my life is kind of chaotic right now") and she was … [Read more...]

Christianity in Three Books?

Rod Dreher asks which three books we'd use to introduce Christianity--in at least a few of its many catastrophic forms--to an open-minded reader seeking religious literacy, not conversion. You should check out his post for a better sense of what he's talking about. I pictured the ideal reader as a well-meaning American secular journalist, from a background much like my own only a lot less Jewish, who wants to know how to write fairly about Christians in the news.EDITED: Having read a bit … [Read more...]

In Defense of Living With Your Parents

me at the Weekly Standard:A few years ago I was getting a ride home from a party with a guy in his early twenties. I lived in a gentrified neighborhood I could no longer pretend to afford, and he lived, it emerged, with his parents. “Good for you,” I said. “I think that’s great.”We hit a stoplight and he turned to look at me. “Do you?” he asked, with a sudden edge of cynicism in his voice. “Do you really?” I could hear what he was thinking: I guess you’re trying to be nice or whatever, bu … [Read more...]

Thanatostalgia

I don't actually know who Russell Brand is, except that he's British and popular for some reason and he said this thing, which really resonated with me: A new documentary about comedian Russell Brand lays bare the lifelong grip addiction can hold on an individual—even one with long-term recovery. In Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, BBC3 follows the 37-year-old as he goes back to visit the Focus 12 Centre in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where he got clean in 2002. The program shows di … [Read more...]

Take the Guns, Leave the Cannoli–Unless the Cannoli Is What You Need!

I'm a compulsive giver of advice. Despite my demonstrable lack of ability to run my own life like a person, I appear to believe that I could do well running yours. Now and then my friends have to basically say, "That's great and all, stop helping." I have the stereotypical guy thing where the wife just wants to be heard and commiserated with, and the husband insists on trying to solve the problem.Because of this, which I'm trying to present cutely but which can really become a character … [Read more...]

#lifehacks

View the self as a challenge to be met, not a problem to be solved. (Or, for that matter, a threat to be avoided!) … [Read more...]

“‘Middlemarch’ and What We Mean When We Say Shame Works”: me at AmCon

sorry for length!: The idea that “shame works”—that stigmatizing behaviors and shaming the people who do them are necessary and honorable tools of public policy—is a recurring theme in both conservative and more communitarian/paternalistic liberal rhetoric. It’s often based on personal experience, or home truths from one’s mom, and because people do sometimes say that shame worked for them I had a hard time articulating why I rejected this rhetoric so completely.But I recently finished readi … [Read more...]


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